Let’s face it, parenting isn’t always a walk in the park. And managing everything during a pandemic is even harder!
When our kids are acting a little less than angelic, it’s easy to lose our cool. No matter how tempting it is to have a meltdown of our own, doing so sends the wrong message to our impressionable little ones. Instead, reach for these 10 practical tools whenever your kids are disrupting the peace in your home.
1. Set aside time for them each day.
Kids sometimes act out when their life feels out of control. That annoying behavior they are exhibiting might just be because of the general uncertainty around them. Give them something they can count on, whether it’s a nightly card game or a daily walk, and make sure they know you’ll be 100 percent theirs during that time.
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2. Ignore it.
If your children are running around making noise while you’re trying to stay calm or get something important done, try the tried-and-true technique of just… ignoring their behavior.
Tune it out. Look the other way. Envision yourself on a beach in Maui. Anything to de-escalate their hyperactivity and show them that they’ll get more attention when they’re calmer.
3. Practice mindfulness for yourself.
Get yourself centered so you’re in a better position to handle whatever comes your way! There are countless apps and websites to help you learn to turn your thoughts inward, focus on your breath, and access the channel of peace that runs within us all.
4. Take a five-minute break.
Stretch your legs, take deep breaths, and remove yourself from the stressful situation for a few minutes. Try shaking your arms and legs to increase blood flow and ease your tense muscles, a technique even animals use to reduce stress!
5. Set clear rules — and consequences.
You can’t always get your little troublemakers to stop pelting their brother with LEGOs, but you can make sure they understand that actions have consequences. For instance, if they know they’ll have to sit in the time-out chair for throwing things at their sibling, they might reconsider taking aim and letting one fly.
6. Change the way you see their behavior.
If you can’t make them change, change the way you think about it. Try to practice empathy and see things from their perspective. Are they bored and trying to get attention, even if it’s negative attention? Are they anxious or taking out their worries on you? When you understand what’s going on, it will be easier to show them the compassion they need!
7. Teach them to solve their own problems.
Helping kids become self-sufficient is part of our job as parents. If they are having an issue, talk to them about finding solutions to their problem using logic and reasoning.
8. Reach out to fellow parents.
Misery loves company, right? Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone gives you the comfort and courage you need to carry on.
9. Say you’re sorry.
If you do lash out and lose your cool, make sure you follow up with a hug and an apology. Let them know you’re human, too, and sometimes you don’t react as well as you could.
10. Laugh it off.
A sense of humor is a parent’s best asset! Next time you’re tempted to blow up at something they’ve done, take a deep breath and try to laugh it off. Remember, this too shall pass!
It takes more effort to stay calm, but it’s worth it! Just think about how much our kids pick up from us every day. Show them how to react to stress and set them (and you) up for a happier future!
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