Children are preoccupied with a variety of things these days, from homework to sports to the latest video games. When it comes to priorities, parents are often low in the pecking order.
It’s also worth mentioning that throughout the period of school-age development (6-12 years old), kids frequently feel overwhelmed by external stimuli and may tune you out.
Even toddlers are a whirlwind of activity, as their primary goal is to explore, or should I say, wreak havoc!
Kids are constantly hyperactive, and with so many fun activities on their agenda, they don’t understand why it’s so vital for them to take a bath now, eat at the right time or go to bed early.
How To Stop Children’s Tantrums
The best way to deal with tantrums will vary depending on the child’s age, personality, and what’s causing them to tantrum in the first place.
However, some general tips that might help include:
- Remain calm and understanding. Remember that they’re just trying to express their feelings in the only way they know how.
- Try not to get frustrated or angry; instead, remain supportive and understanding.
- Try distraction techniques. If your child is fussing because they want something they can’t have, try distracting them with another activity.
- Avoid giving in to demands. Giving your child what they want just to stop the tantrum will only reinforce the behavior.
- Be consistent with discipline. This will help your child understand what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t.
With patience and understanding, you can help your child through their tantrums and develop a more positive relationship with them.
What follows is a practical guide on the best way to deal with tantrums.
Ensure That You Have Your Child’s Full Attention Before Speaking
It is important to first establish a connection prior to speaking. This implies that barking orders from across the room will not result in the successful delivery of your message.
Make your presence felt by encroaching into the child’s space and giving a gentle pat. You can connect with him by commenting on what he is doing: “Oooh, did you draw that?… Nice!”
As humans, we are more open to influence from a person we feel connected to; thus, connecting with the child first will make him more receptive to your message.
However, you’re not being manipulative; instead, you’re acknowledging what is valuable to him at that moment.
When he looks up, make eye contact and speak. In a situation where he does not look up, pique his interest by saying, “I’ve got something to tell you.” When he raises his head, begins speaking.
Avoid Saying The Same Thing Over And Over Again
Don’t ask continuously if you haven’t received a response the first time. Your child isn’t paying attention to you, so go back and apply the first step.
The Fewer The Words, The Better
A common mistake is to use too many words when trying to communicate anything to our children. Too many words can dilute a message and make it difficult for a child to focus on it. When giving instructions, keep it simple.
See Things From Your Child’s Perspective
Imagine doing something you love, and suddenly your partner tells you to quit what you’re doing and focus on something else that doesn’t interest you. How would that make your day feel?
It’s not necessary for your child to share your priorities; he is only required to accommodate your demands.
And while you don’t also have to share his priorities, acknowledging his desire to do those activities that make him happy can make a huge difference.
“Honey, I understand how difficult it is to put the game down. I can see you’re having so much fun. But please, I need you to answer the door.”
Nobody wants to listen to someone who is issuing commands; in fact, this usually results in resistance. In other cases, it can create a toxic environment filled with fear.
Take a moment to imagine how you feel when someone yells orders at you all the time. Do you cooperate with a positive attitude?
Using a soft and warm tone when speaking to your kids can go a long way in creating a collaborative environment. Provide options whenever you can.
“Sweetie, it’s time to get in the tub. Would you love to go now or in 5 minutes? Fine, 5 minutes with no fuss…deal?”
If you absolutely need it done right away, you can use a command, but preserve the warmth and empathy in your words: “Remember we had a deal, time’s up.
You wish you could play outside all night, don’t you? When you’re older, I’m sure you’ll spend every night playing! We have to go now.”
Keep Your Cool
As soon as we become agitated, our children feel threatened and withdraw. They become less interested in listening and lose focus of our message as they attempt to defend or fight back.
If you plan to take your kids out and discover they’re not ready, don’t waste your time scolding and giving a long lecture about why they didn’t get ready on time. You’re just going to end up getting upset and dampening everyone’s mood.
Sometimes, you might even think to yourself; my toddler wants nothing to do with me. This is normal and part of their development.
Stay calm and assist your kids in finding their shoes or putting on their clothes.
During the drive, you all can come up with ideas to get everyone out of the house early next time. (Hint: If you keep the dialogue focused on solutions rather than faults, it will be more productive.)
Establish Routines In Your Home
Nagging is the most common form of communication between parents and children. It’s no surprise that children don’t pay attention.
To avoid power disputes and the necessity for you to sound like a drill sergeant, you must establish routines in the home.
These are basically everyday activities like brushing, using the toilet, packing their backpacks, putting on shoes, cleaning their rooms, etc.
Allow your kids to take command of the tasks they’ve been given while you focus on inquiring into their activities.
“Is there anything else you need to do before you step out? Let’s have a look at your schedule.”
Keeping your eyes glued to your computer screen as your child tells you about his day sets a poor example for how family members should communicate.
You don’t expect your child to listen to you when you don’t listen to them. Put down whatever you’re doing and pay attention — a few minutes is all it takes. Get started while he’s a youngster, and he’ll still be open to talking to you as a teen.
Keep An Eye Out For Any Anomaly
In most cases, kids don’t listen because they aren’t paying attention to us. However, if your child continually fails to understand your instructions, it might be a case of auditory processing disorder (APD).
Children who suffer from this condition cannot comprehend what they hear in the same manner that other children do. The brain’s ability to perceive and understand sounds, particularly speech, is disrupted.
Using the pointers in this piece, you can try out step-by-step instructions with your child. If you have concerns, speak with your pediatrician about getting a referral to an audiologist.
Playfulness Is An Effective Way To Elicit Collaboration
One parenting kryptonite is when children refuse to listen, respond, or cooperate. This is the most difficult thing a lot of parents have ever had to deal with.
However, playfulness is an effective way to bring your kids on board with your demands.
It still boils down to connecting with your kids before speaking with them. When they see you as a friend, it’s easier for you to convince them to cooperate without having to yell.
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As awesome as these tips are, there’s a lot more science that goes into raising well-behaved kids without being a mean mom or dad.
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