Ever find yourself raising your voice and talking to your child in a tone that is nothing short of completely exasperated? I do. I try really hard not to, because I feel that reasoning with my children is a lot more effective than screaming at them, but sometimes my patience thins a bit too much and my inner mean mommy gets the best of me. In an effort to remember that I can mean business and get the point across without turning into a monster, I try to remind myself of these tips.
Calm and Soft
Sometimes it requires taking a deep breath and reminding myself that my kids are a blessing, but for the most part it’s pretty easy to remain calm and speak softly but firmly. I don’t know if it makes my kids feel bad about misbehaving when I am calm and patient or what, but it seems to work in almost every occasion. I get down on their level, speak very softly and remain very calm. My words seem to have a bigger impact this way. Keep it short, sweet, firm and to the point.
One thing I’ve learned is that when my chidren misbehave it’s because they’re trying to convey their feelings and they may not always have the words. For example, typically they don’t misbehave because it seems like the fun thing to do. They do it because they’re tired, hungry, not feeling well, frustrated, too excited or just plain angry. Instead of getting angry with their behavior, I try to help them put their emotions into words; not every child finds this easy. I ask them how they’re feeling, why they’re feeling that way and how they think they can better handle that feeling. I also let them know it’s okay to have those feelings, we all do, and that it’s perfectly fine to take a few minutes to calm down before dealing with their emotions.
Offer a Warning
I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to mean business and not be mean to my kids is to prevent meltdowns in the first place. One way I do this is to offer a 5 minute warning for everything. For example, my almost 5-year-old likes to play in the mornings before she goes to VPK. I learned quickly that she does not like it when I head to her room and instruct her to put down the toys and get dressed. She doesn’t listen. So…I started giving her a 5-minute warning. “Honey, in 5 minutes it’s time to get dressed for school. You have 5 minutes to finish playing and then you have to put your school clothes on. The faster you do it, the faster you can get back to your toys.” It works like a charm every morning. Hopefully the same goes for your child.