Surviving the under five's behaviour.
When my son was three, he was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine. Not far from where we lived was a railway, where real trains had been made up to look like the ones in the story. They were all painted the right colours, blue for Thomas, red for James, Green for Henry, and they had faces too.I can still remember his little face and the delight in his voice:
‘Look Mummy its Thomas!’
We had a lovely afternoon, but then it was time to go.
‘Come on Joe, time to go home now.’
He was having none of it. I tried to bribe him:
‘When we get home you can watch your favourite ‘Thomas’ video.
I tried empathy:
‘I know it’s horrible that we have to go home now, I wish we could stay longer too.’
I tried reason:
‘The station is closing now, we are not allowed to stay any longer.’
It all fell on deaf ears, and at last I had to pick him up and attempt to get him into the car.
Well he had the most stratospheric tantrum. (you may know the sort I mean)
Thank goodness no one batted an eyelid as I tried to peel his hands from the car door and force his little body, which had gone as straight and stiff as a board, down into the car seat, then wrestle to get the buckles done up while all the time trying to duck flailing arms and legs, and keep my cool!
If you are a parent of little ones it’s likely that you may have to deal with the occasional or even daily tantrum, but here is actually quite a lot you can do to prevent / reduce them.
Here are a few tips:
Have predictable routines
Little kids love routine, it makes them feel safe and secure, keep it simple, for example: breakfast, play, time outdoors, more play, story time, lunch, nap, pick up siblings from school, park, home, play, tea, wind down time bath, book, bed.
Of course there will be days that are different, but now you’ve got a tiny human you will most likely totally understand why your friends who were Mums before you, used to be so precious about protecting nap time, ‘Sorry can’t meet you at that time, little Billy / Sophie / Charlie will be asleep.
‘No you can’t have another biscuit, ooh quick look there’s a rabbit in the garden’ (no rabbit? then go outside and look for one!)
This one is really useful when your child is very young, they are usually easily distracted, requires quick thinking though!
Try not to use the word ‘no’ too often.
Being told no all the time is very frustrating, and may lead to more tantrums.
Tune in to your child
Spend as much quality time with your child as you can. Not only will you be meeting a very important need, but it will help you to really tune into your child, and to understand what makes them tick. Children’s more difficult behaviours will often improve when a parent simply spends more time with them.
Look after you.
Children are little sponges, they will soak up the emotions of the adults around them. How you feel can have an effect on how your child feels and therefore on their behaviour. If Mummy or Daddy is stressed, depressed, anxious, or angry it can be impossible for children to understand what is going on, they are only just learning about their own emotions.
Look after yourself is so important, if you are not ok parenting is much harder, so never be afraid to ask for help.
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