It’s not you, It’s me!!!

It’s not you, It’s me!!!

 Does the following scenario sound familiar to you…

You are trying to interact with your child; but, your child is whining, complaining, not following the direction, dropping to the floor, etc. You begin to feel frustrated, your voice gets “sharp”, you are snapping or yelling. 

You are so not alone!!!!

There are often times when I am scratching my head going “why are you acting this way” then it hits me like a brick!

This is typically when the reality that my son is feeding off my emotions, frustrations, and energies kicks into high gear.

Time to reset!!

How do I go about resetting??

The very first thing I do is acknowledge to my son that I do not like the way I am talking right now.

Then I tell him I need to take a minute.  Typically, I just stand there and take some deep breathes. If I am really frustrated then I take a time out by going to the bathroom or walking to another room.

When I have my composure back I then apologize for my voice tone or behaviour. Then I take a couple of minutes to connect at my son’s level. (Stop, Drop, Connect) This is often enough to get his behaviour back in the desired direction. 

If things improve then I have to let the previous behaviour go (easier said than done). This is when I replay the song “Let it Go” in my head :). 

What do you do if your child has not been able to reset?

There have been many times when I have pulled myself together but our son is “too far gone”. He is immersed in his emotional release (aka tantrum) or undesired behaviour. Now it is time to help him.

I label his behaviour and talk him through his frustration or I give him the space to unload.

I will ask if he needs a minute or if he wants a hug.  He usually takes the hug and then he resets.

You may be thinking this all sounds great but how can it be that easy?

In all reality, it is not always that easy.

When you are in the midst of these behaviours over and over again (toddlers and preschoolers are famous for that) it certainly does not feel easy.

There will be times where the resetting can take place after an epic 30 minute emotional release. This is when it is really important that you remind yourself that the calmer you remain the easier your reset becomes.

The positive thing that can come out of you resetting like this is that your child learns how to reset by following your example. 

I have to admit the first time I saw our little man stand, take a deep breath and ask for a minute (“need break”) my heart swelled!!

 

If you have further questions I would love to hear from you. If you are a member of Parenting Foundations feel free to send me a private message or post in the private group. If you are not a member but would like to hear more about it, please comment below.

Stop, Drop and Connect

There are many times as a parent that we see our children falling apart. Tantrums are occurring left, right and center; tears for unknown reasons, and non-compliance for no known reason. Your typically calm and quite child is losing it, your usually strongly independent child is clingy onto you, or your child that is full of energy is a mess on the floor. This is when you Stop, Drop and Connect.

Connect??

This is when you stop what you are doing for a couple of minutes and pay attention to your child. Put the phone or other electrical devices away and spend a few minutes at your child’s level. Either get down to his level or bring him to your level. Try to include him in your activity or spend time doing another activity together.

Often times tantrums or major upsets can occur in a more intense manner when a child is not feeling connected to his parent. Now one of the biggest concerns I hear when I suggest that people try to pay attention in this manner is “am I not spoiling my child by doing this”. The answer is no. The key is learning the signs that your child needs a bit of attention before the poop hits the fan. These few short minutes can derail a tantrum before it begins.

Now if your child is in a full blown tantrum I would remain calm and remind him you are here for him but give him the space to release the emotion all while holding firm to your expectations. If your child is feeling connected the tantrum will be short lived. If your child is not feeling connected it can take a little longer but be patient and when the tantrum is done you can reconnect. When this happens here with our 5.5-year-old, I offer a hug or he asks for one and then we move on with our day. I then invite him into my activity. For us, the tantrums occur after school while I am trying to get supper. When I can tell he is drained I invite him to help me in the kitchen. Some days he does and other days he will play alongside me.

I understand that this sounds so simple that it can’t be true. I challenge you to try connecting with your child when you can see that he is about to explode.

Another way to connect with your child is to engage in 10 to 15 minutes of child-directed play every day.

Child-Directed Play

What is this? This is when you spend 10 to 15 minutes playing with your child. This is when I hear, “I do that every day”. Here is where it gets a bit different. This 10 to 15 minutes is when you let your child take the lead. Your phone is off and you are focused on the play. The only time you intervene is if there is a safety issue. I have had to run around the house like I was on a spaceship, pretend I am a variety of different Pokemon characters and the list goes on. I can honestly say on the days I have not done this my child is a bit more clingy and not the most compliant.

This can be a great add-on to a bedtime routine. I usually recommend that the routine starts with the child-directed play. Then after the play is complete you will have more fun with the bedtime routine as your child will be more willing to follow the routine as he is feeling connected.

 

I look forward to chatting with you further about this in the Parenting Foundations Membership forums or by commenting below.

Stop, Drop and Connect ToddlersStop, Drop and Connect Preschool and School Aged