The biggest things to improve a parents experience with their child is often small changes that make a world of difference, at least that is what I have found so far. There are 3 small things that we use on a day to day to cut back on temper tantrums with our two year old and have a generally better day.
This is something that most parents learn to do, but is still worth mentioning. When your child wants something that they can’t have or is upset about something one of the best things you can do is redirect their attention to what they can have or do that is a positive outcome. I am going to be using bedtime as an example for each of these when it comes to our son Emmett.
Emmett typically does not want to go to bed when it is his bedtime. The nights often turn into crying as it becomes time for bed and he doesn’t want to go. Redirecting his attention to things that he does enjoy often helps this. An example of this is he is enjoying being able to use the sink now that we have gotten a step stool. Often after telling him it is time for bed he puts up a fight. I remind him that we have to brush our teeth and wash our hands and face and he will be able to turn the sink on and off.
This doesn’t always work but more times than not I can find something to redirect his attention to.
Respect what they are doing
This one is often hard for us to do as adults. I know I often have the I am your parent and you will listen to what I say mentality. When this happens I step back and remember that this is true to a degree, but my son is a person to so I should respect his time within reason as I would expect anyone to do the same for me. So if my son is watching a show and 7pm rolls around instead of just shutting it off and saying time for bed, I tell him when it is over it is time for bed.
Respecting the fact that he is watching something will often stop the fight of him wanting to finish the show and make going to bed a lot easier since the show has finished. Taking the extra second to find out, how much more of the show is there, how close are they to finishing their Lego creation, or how many more pages in the chapter of the book they are reading goes a long way to show them that you respect their time and what is important to them.
There are times that Emmett often wants something and can’t have it. By given him a choice of what he can have it helps him to feel like the decision was his even if it was under certain constraints. When Emmett goes to bed I allow him to make the decisions of what he wants within certain parameters.
It is bed time and he is going to bed one way or another, but he can choose if he wants his night light on or not, if he wants the sound machine running, what toy he wants to take to bed.
These choices help make bed time something he is controlling and is more comfortable with.
All 3 of these things boil down to the simple act of allowing your child to take ownership of what they are doing within the bounds that you set. This ownership mentality is helpful in a number of areas as they grow older and We feel is important to foster at a young age, it also helps to have your child listen because of a mutual respect over listening because mom or dad said so.
What small changes make a big difference in your parenting?