In this week's Vlog, I answer the questions:
1. What calming techniques can my child and I use to relieve stress?
2. How do I avoid temper tantrums WITHOUT giving in?
Here are three tips to improve the quality of time you spend with your child, decrease your stress, and at the same time avoid tantrums. Watch the video for more insights into your child's tantrums and how to deal with them in the moment.
These steps will help you practice the habits that make sure your child feels heard, seen, and felt.
1. Check in: "How do I/You feel?" & "What do I/you need?"
Decreasing your stress and managing your emotions is a key in helping your child do the same. Check in with yourself periodically throughout the day. If you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, ask yourself what you need to meet your own needs before you can meet your child's.
Check in with your child periodically throughout the day to help your child feel heard, seen, and understood. This will help to prevent the tantrums because they won't need to escalate to that level to get your attention or your empathy.
2. Celebrate Victories:
Take a little bit of time each evening, during dinner or during your bedtime routine, to share stories of the day's successes and the lessons you've learned. This is a great bonding and sharing activity that helps your child celebrate their own victories and learn from their mistakes. Reflecting back on the day also helps your child realize that some days are good and others are rocky, and that's just a part of life.
3. Don't waste time/energy complaining:
How well do you deal with disappointment, stress, and setbacks? Your reaction to problems is what your child will mirror! Venting and complaining may feel good in that immediate moment, but be careful because this is not only negative but also unproductive.
Instead, laugh it off and put that energy into solving your problem. This will model your resiliency to your child, and help them to adapt this same habit when things don't go their way.
IN THE MIDDLE OF A TANTRUM?
This approach to building a healthy and positive relationship with your child should avoid their need to express themselves through tantrums.
If your child is throwing a tantrum, the most important thing you can do is stay centered and emotionally regulated. Don't give into your own emotions because reacting emotionally will only escalate the drama.
Instead, give them time and space to express how they feel and get through their emotion. Acknowledge how they feel and calmly communicate what you would like for them to do instead. Ask questions to understand the reason behind their actions and emotions.
TEMPER TANTRUM vs. EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
Many times what we interpret as a temper tantrum is actually your child experiencing emotional distress. If your child is completely overtaken by their emotions, that means they are having an emotion experience outside of their control.
If you recognize that your child is emotionally dysregulated and truly distraught or upset, acknowledge how they feel and seek to comfort them. Get close, give them a hug, and seek to soothe them. Let them know they are safe and you are there for them. Help them to emotionally regulate with you until they are calm.
The more you understand what's behind your child's actions and can decode them, the better you'll be able to respond.