Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Sometimes you have to be a party-pooper.
You’re at the playground and you’re telling your daughter Chloe, that it’s time to go. This is the third time you have attempted to get her attention and you are starting to lose your patience. You decide to be a little more stern, and next thing you know your child is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the playground.
WHAT ARE YOU THINKING & FEELING?
You: Why is she doing this?
We can’t be at the playground all afternoon.
It's getting late and we still have to make dinner
Doesn’t she know that? I told her that before we left.
WHAT IS CHLOE FEELING?
Chloe: I’m having so much fun, why do we have to leave?
We just got here and I still have not gone down the slide enough
There are still so many children here, they’re not leaving
Why is Mommy getting mad?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Remain calm; children are very aware of our frustration and are likely to mirror the same negative emotions.
Don’t be dismissive of your child’s tantrum; acknowledge/label her feelings because it helps them process their emotions. You can say, “I see that you don’t want to leave the playground, but we did say that after an hour, we were going to go home to have dinner”
Next time, show her the watch, read the time and say “In an hour, which is when the big hand points at 5 or when the clock says the number 5, we have to go home”
And better still, give them a countdown. "In 10 minutes, we have to go, ok?" This way she can get used to the idea and her play doesn’t have to stop immediately.
Maintain your sense of authority but also allow your child to partake in the decision making; you can compromise.
ex. “if you calm your body we can stay 10 more minutes and then we have to leave.”, "I see you’re upset, why don’t we try to take a deep breath and blow the candle slowly." (this is when you hold your 2 index fingers together and blow on it like a candle. A long exhale will focus her and help her stop and relax with the breath)
THE WHY? Child in Mind Nugget of Wisdom:
Being responsive to your child’s emotional needs and making them feel comforted and supported promotes a child’s self-confidence.
Encouraging your child to use words and verbalize what they are feeling instead of crying will teach them that emotions can be expressed in words, which is the first step to controlling them and regulating them.
Guiding the child through possible solutions in order to teach them problem-solving skills makes them feel like they are a part of the decision making and are in control of their lives.
Teaching your children coping strategies such as taking deep breaths grows their self-soothing skills.
The Kids' Guide to Staying Awesome and In Control by Lauren Brukner