They said parenting was the hardest thing you’d ever do in your life, but often the reality of that statement doesn’t hit in full until you’re really in the thick of a power struggle with your willful toddler. You can’t always predict what your children–or, let’s face it, life–will throw your way on a daily basis, but you can take steps to keep your responses and reactions consistent. to really step into the calm, collected parent you know you can be, even when your buttons get pushed, this guide is here to help.
Fill Your Cup
When it comes to the reasons for an intense reaction, adults are as different from children as it seems. Just like overtiredness, hunger, under or overstimulation and routine disturbances can reduce your child’s fuse, the same goes for you and your stability. They say you can’t help anyone until you help yourself first, so make sure your needs and wants are met on a daily basis, too.
Try scheduling time just for yourself to pull out a favorite book, tap on a favorite blend of essential oils, and kick back with a little peace and quiet to give your brain a break. Or maybe you need a getaway! Many people find yoga to be helpful too.
Connect, Then Correct
Positive, gentle parenting methods have seen a surge in modern popularity for good reason. Conflicts are far more likely to escalate when yours or your child’s nervous systems are dysregulated, and these methods aim to address the root of many behavioral obstacles: a lack of connection. The more loved, valued and understood your child feels, the better they’re likely to take and apply corrections for their misbehavior.
Spend a quick moment before addressing an issue to give them a hug, acknowledge their big feelings and tell them you love them. These moments of connection will make it easier for both of you to talk about how to problem-solve together. Positive interactions with babies provide a foundation for healthy child development.
Read Next | How to Raise an Independent Toddler
Lead By Example
Disciplined, emotionally balanced and well-mannered children are more often the product of disciplined, emotionally balanced and well-mannered parents. If you want your child to use their calm voice, make sure you’re doing that, too. If you do lose your cool, make sure to repair the situation promptly and talk to your child about how to do better next time. When the standards for behavior are observable, and apply to the whole household, the expectations for everyone are a lot clearer and easier to uphold.
Learn to Pause
Most unpleasant reactions are a result of your body’s fight or flight mechanisms taking over, often in regrettable ways. When a situation arises, try to give yourself a moment to process what is going on before reacting. This way, you have a better chance at choosing a reaction that can contribute positively to your desired outcome rather than contribute to the chaos. Even just a few extra seconds can make a big difference.
Offer a Few Choices
From what the family has for dinner to when it’s time to stop playing and head to bed, children have very few choices in their lives by nature, so struggles over refusals and stubbornness are incredibly common. Whenever possible, give your child a few small choices to give them a sense of autonomy.
Letting your child choose which fruit to have at lunchtime, what to wear in the morning, how long to stay at the playground or whether they’d like help putting on their shoes can do a lot to reduce some of the gridlock between the two of you, and help your child to more in control and like a team player.
Use Your Village
Parenting solo, even for a short duration during, is no walk in the park. When things become overwhelming, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for a little help. Friends, family, neighbors and even fellow parents from school can help you with the dishes, childcare or even simply provide some company while you run errands. It takes a village, and the more you’re able to lean on yours, the calmer, and happier, you’ll be as a parent.
Emily Burton is a freelance writer interested in healthy living, family life, and interior design. Emily’s writing interests include: life hacks, travel tips, family activities, cooking, health and fitness, do it yourself, working from home, and budgeting. She has called the greater Phoenix area home her whole life and enjoys the everyday craziness at home with her husband and two sons. Emily recommends relaxing with a blend of Young Living essential oils.
Like what you read? JOIN the Mommybites community to get the latest on FREE online classes, parenting advice, events, childcare listings, casting calls & raffles, and our Parents With Nannies Facebook group. SIGN UP NOW!