Your child hears the word "no" and the world is now ending....
5 things i do to problem solve with my children:
1. be mindful
while i was a teacher I learned that being mindful with young children is very important. it's important to be present and in the moment with children. its easy for a child to sense you are distracted or not fully engaging with them. when a problem arises with a child talk to them about it. unplug from whatever electronic device might be capturing your attention and go through the problem with them. It's very important to model mindfulness for children. some things you can do to be mindful is:
- take deep breaths before dealing with a child having a temper tantrum
- encourage your child to take some deep breaths. you can use techniques like smell the flower and blow out the candle by placing you index finger in front of your mouth pretending its a flower(inhale) and then blowing out the candle(exhale)
. --children exhibiting a lot of energy and it isn't the time or place for them to run around to exert that energy can benefit by lifting a heavy object, or doing some jumping jacks.
-yoga exercises that you can do in a small space is also another great way to get a child to be mindful and calm their bodies.
-creating a space for your child to go to so they can calm down is helpful. i have dealt with many children who have had meltdown where they might knock things over or swing their arms and legs so putting them in a safe and calm space can allow them to exert the frustration among themselves. when you are out in public its difficult to do but bringing them back to the car so they can let it all out is beneficial because it eliminates the amount of humiliation you may feel because of people secretly judging or staring at you and your child. i typically opt for the car because I am not a fan of public restrooms but if you prefer the restroom then so be it.
-just allow your child to bug out but you yourself have to remain calm.
-take deep breathes and use a soft voice.
-when children are frustrated and acting out its very difficult for them to hear what we're saying to them so counting aloud while you take your breaths may distract them and might help them calm down with you.
2. give them choices
when children don't want to do what they are being told they can be VERY STUBBORN. so give them 2 choices. one choice you and them can both agree with and the other you agree with but know they most likely wont choose. when you give them these choices give them a time limit to choose. if they are still refusing you can try " would you like to make the choice or do you want me to make it for you?" I'm almost positive they will say they want to make the choice. children feel good when they are able to make an independent decision. just make sure the choices you are giving them are child appropriate. nothing is worse than a child that thinks they can run your life and make the decisions. an example is a recent conflict i had with my child: she insisted on sleeping in bed with me. with 4 children and 2 dogs its very uncomfortable when we are all in bed together and we get up super early in the morning so everyone getting a good nights sleep on the weekdays is crucial. so back to the situation. i said to my daughter "you can either sleep in your room with your favorite movie on TV or you can sleep in Mommy's room with no TV" she instantly chose to sleep in her room with the TV on. now it wont always be that easy and there are some situations where you wont be able to give choices but if you can try it and see how it goes.
3. address the issue right away and then move on
in some cases some problems don't require and consequence or choices. this is something good to do for older children. for an example my son came home with a note from school saying he was getting out of his seat and constantly being told to stop talking. am i going to crucify him for this behavior...no, because he's old enough to have a discussion on what he can do to change the behavior and do better. he understood that if another note was sent home then something he liked or wanted would be taken away. once the issue is spoken about or dealt with move on. for younger children a better approach would be to deal with it right then and there. give them their punishment when it's over move on. dwelling on something bad that they've done can really affect their self esteem. we don't want our children to feel like they are bad people because they make mistakes. mistakes are to be learning opportunities.
4. stand your ground the crying will eventually stop
the words "no" is apart of my vocabulary on the daily and i hold no remorse. i don't change my mind. i certainly will not use the word maybe when i know for a fact whatever they want is not going to happen. children who never hear the word "no" grow up feeling entitled to everything and anything. in real life as adults we do not get everything we want exactly when we want it so it's important for your child to know and experience a life where they do not receive all that they ask for. your child might freak the hell out the minute you say no but if you change your mind while they are having a meltdown they are going to think that every time they bug out you will give them their way. your child NEEDS to get used to hearing no. I'm not saying that every time they ask for something it has to be a no but within reason if you feel like they shouldn't have something or do something at that time then you as the parent have every right to make the decision.
5. sometimes all they need is a hug
this doesn't need much explanation. if you ask a child if they need a hug or would like a hug 7 times out of 10 they will say yes and that hug you are giving them will make them feel loved, feel secure, and feel good. physical connection with your children can ease them in so many ways. sometimes all i have to do is touch my baby's cheek and she calms down. they love to be loved.
i hope these tips help. please feel free to share in the comments some things you do for your children to calm down, be mindful, or ways you help them problem solve.