Just listened to a really amazing Raisingplayfultots.com podcast ‘Positive ways to get to play activities bypassing the grumps‘. This is an interview with Amy Speidel of Conscious Discipline that I think is really worth the time to listen to. It is about 40 minutes of lots of really useful tips and tools on how to deal with young children on difficult days, handling conflict and giving some really good parenting skills, I hope Melitsa and Amy don’t mind me sharing a some of the key bits that I found most useful here – please listen to the podcast! you can subscribe free through itunes and all the podcasts so far are here
When conflict starts to rise and you feel your teeth clenching!
STAR – Smile, Take a breath And Relax…
During stress, your heartrate rises and your body goes into survival mode so all you can do is fight or run. Using the muscles in your face to smile actually reduces that physical reaction, and combined with taking a moment and taking a breath, this can give you enough of your rational self back to use a more constructive approach!
When you say ‘Stop hitting your brother’ for the 100th time…
You might actually be reinforcing the behaviour you are trying to stop. Apparently the brain hears the action word first, and in young children this can lead to another aggressive act just through suggestion! Try ‘stop’ and then after finding out the cause of the conflict, suggesting a more appropriate action for next time
When you say ‘stop whining’ or ‘be quiet’…
Try getting down to eye level and saying in the tone and volume you would like them to use ‘match your voice to mine and try saying it again’ Apparently this works brilliantly in places like libraries!
Try not to say ‘I need you to..’ or ‘I want you to..’
This puts your needs in conflict with theirs – you might need them to get into their pyjamas, but they need to carry on playing thank you! Use ‘It’s time to’ or ‘It’s important to’
Move away from saying ‘I am angry’
and try something like ‘It seems that you are feeling angry/sad/annoyed, do you need a hug/ what can we do about that?’
After a difficult trip to the supermarket etc
Instead of ‘I’m never taking you again’ go for ‘That didn’t go very well, what can we do about that next time?’
Timeouts don’t teach them anything
Being sent to their room won’t teach a child how to deal with an issue the next time. Try suggesting a break instead ‘It’s getting difficult, maybe we should all take a break and then come back and figure out what to do next’
And my personal favourite; Recognise that these behaviours are happening because they are little and not because they are out to get you
Conscious Discipline have some really good stuff in the resources section of their site for tinies, tweens and teens too