When you are losing it…
Staying calm with your toddler in stressful situations, especially when you have a lot of things going on already, is not easy, but it is not impossible. Lots of parents came to me in the past few years with all sorts of questions, and when someone asked about how to stay calm, or how I remain patient with the kids, I was actually very happy about it.
I think this is one of the least asked questions, although, it is hugely important for you and your children. When you finally find out what tactics help you to stay calm, your days will be completely changed for the better. You will be more optimistic, positive and fun (plus you keep your sanity) and you ensure a more caring and loving environment for your kids in which they will thrive.
After this short intro, here is my video on this topic.
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How to stay calm and improve self-control
One afternoon, when it was collection time at the nursery I used to work for, one of the moms came to me asking for advice on how to remain calm and patient with her four years old son in stressful situations.
Lately, she got easily annoyed, frustrated, and she often raised her voice at her son. Then she regretted her actions instantly and felt like a terrible mom. Her question was how to improve her self-control and not to feel like a bad mom.
So to all the stressed-out moms and dads out there, my advice is to take it easy and practise.
I know that it is easy to say to stay calm and relaxed but it is not impossible. You have to make it as a habit, you have to practise it. It takes time, so you have to be patient with yourself.
"Make yourself a priority once in a while.
It is not selfish. It is necessary."
Questions you can ask
When you are having a rough day and you are extremely tired and irritable and your child does something that you don't like, just try to think for a second and ask these questions:
- Is it really that bad? Can you let it go for now?
- Is it worth to let yourself to be angry about it?
- Is it something worth to spend your energy on?
Of course, if your child bites or hits someone, you have to act straight away. But if it is not something that it needs your immediate reaction, for example, if your child spills something or runs in the house, you might just let that go for once.
When I am at work and having a bad day, I quickly switch into a laid-back mode and I try not to get frustrated by the kids. On that day, I am more flexible and more understanding. For example, I don't spend too much time on encouraging children to eat everything at lunchtime or I don't interrupt the kids while they are fighting over a toy, I wait until they manage to sort it out by themselves. Of course, if it is not happening, then I do interrupt and help them out.
Create a list
You could create a list of the things you would be okay in the future. It is not about not caring, I am not saying that you have to neglect your children just because you are having a rough day or you should ditch your principles and allow your child to do everything. Sometimes it is just simply better to be more flexible to keep your sanity.
There are so many things to juggle that if we get frustrated on top of everything, we just spend our precious energy unnecessarily on something that might not be that important and we end up in a rage...and then we regret it straight away and feel terrible about it.
Observe, evaluate, follow the next steps
My second advice is on how to improve self-control is to look back, analyse what happened, evaluate it and come up with the next steps.
For example, if you snap and you say or do things that you regret straight away, think what you can do next time in the same or similar situation. First, ask these questions:
- What did your child do that made you so upset?
- What was your reaction and why did you react that way?
- What could you do better next time?
This takes practice as well, so don't be too harsh on yourself. Whenever you regret the way you handled a situation and you think that you are such a terrible parent, please think about the following:
You don't hurt your child on purpose, you know what you have done wrong and realise what you could have done better. This is what counts. Plus you have so many things to do every day and having children, looking after them, educating them are not easy. You should not feel like a failure but you should pat yourself on the back and be proud of what you have achieved.
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