Sometimes as moms we can really feel as though we are stuck in a whirlwind. Those dreaded nights come about just when we think it is smooth sailing ahead. All the kids screaming, hubby is doing something to annoy you and dinner is burning. During these moments, it can be quite difficult to remember that we are supposed to be setting an example for how our little ones should handle tough situations. We can quickly turn to negative reactions - and this rarely ends well for anyone.
It is during these times, and every other moment of every day, that we need to remind ourselves to constantly encourage the positive in our children. Luckily there are easy ways to incorporate this teaching into everyday situations. Practice the activities for a few weeks and before you know it, they will be second nature to you.
Here are some reminders how to keep it positive:
- Tantrums are your friend. Now that may seem a bit strange, but a tantrum can be a great lesson for toddlers on how to handle difficult or emotional situations. We all know how the classic tantrum goes - screaming, stomping feet and wild arms. Knowing how to calm you child during these Hulk-like moments can teach them how to control their emotions and rational thinking. When these tantrums start your child will need your reassurance. Get down to their eye level and speak to them in short and easy sentences. Ask them to match your slow breathing and try to calm them. Once they can talk, get them to explain to you, and themselves, why they are acting this way and what caused it. When this is established, the two of you can work through different solutions together on how the problem could have been solved. For example if another child took their favorite toy, they could have come to you for help first instead of going full-blown tantrum.
- Have reward charts. A visual representation on how “well” your child is behaving, as well as having a reward in sight, is a very effective tool on keeping them on the right track. How you do it is up to you, whether they need a certain amount of stickers per week to get a reward, or if good behavior allows them to choose a movie to watch or stay up 15 minutes longer. Have them involved in drawing and coloring the chart to motivate them even more.
- Let them overhear you bragging about how great they are, and how proud you are of them. This can be to another adult or even a toy, as long as they are aware that you are proud, they will want to impress you more.
Children react best to positive reinforcement, so keep making them feel good about doing well, and they will continue on this path. Work these methods into everyday life - maybe it will even help you cool off during stressful situations as well!
Good luck mama!