As moms, it's only natural that we want to keep our cool when our kids are in the heat of a meltdown. But let's be honest: keeping calm isn't always easy! Actually, it's hardly ever easy. Trying to stay relaxed and in control during those frustrating times can seem like an uphill battle – especially if you’re dealing with multiple temper tantrums thrown by multiple children all at once.
I don't know about you, but my furst instinct is to have a mini temper tantrum of my own. Want to know what happens when I give into that frustration? Nothing good.
That’s why having strategies for managing your cool is key. If you're looking for tips on how to remain cool and collected when your kids are losing it, read on–I'm here to help!
Why You Need to Stay Calm
Before we talk about how to stay calm, let's look at WHY we should stay calm. As mothers, we are our children's main example of how to cope with difficult emotions. If we can stay calm and in control, our kids will learn that this is the best way to deal with their own emotions.
When you react with anger and frustration, your kids learn that this is how they should respond in difficult situations too. We want to set a good example for our kids, so it's important to stay calm and in control.
Listen, I know that is much easier said than done. That’s why I’m going to give you a few effective strategies that can help you keep your cool in the midst of those scary temper tantrums.
1. Take a Break
When your kids are in the middle of a meltdown, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and lose your cool. When that happens, take a few deep breaths and step away from the situation for a minute or two. It doesn't have to be a long break, just enough time to regroup and refocus.
Taking a few minutes away from the situation can help you regain your composure, and you may even come back with a few new ideas on how to handle the situation.
2. Acknowledge and Validate Your Child's Emotions
When your child is in the middle of a tantrum, it can be easy to dismiss their feelings and try to shut down the episode. But it's important to acknowledge your child’s emotions and validate how they are feeling. It's also important to understand what causes temper tantrums. By taking the time to ask what is wrong and validate your child's feelings, it is more likely you'll be able to figure out why they are throwing a tantrum.
By validating their feelings, you’re helping them learn how to cope with difficult situations in a productive way. Believe it or not, it can also replace some of your frustration with empathy. Let them know that it's ok to feel angry, frustrated, or upset–but also remind them that it's not ok to act out.
Take a moment to imagine what it would feel like to be in your child's shoes. Many things that mean the world to them may not seem as important or meaningful to other people, and that can be incredibly frustrating and hurtful. That doesn't give us the right to belittle them or shut them down–it just means we need to take a moment to empathize and understand.
Of course, there has to be a balance between empathy and discipline, but it's important to recognize our children’s feelings before we jump into discipline mode.
- Listen mama, I'm preaching to myself. I'm a new-ish mama and this is probably one of the most challenging strategies I've had to learn. It isn't always easy, but it's important if we want to teach our children how to regulate their emotions.
3. Take a few deep breaths.
When your kids are in the middle of an emotional meltdown and you aren't able to walk away for a minute, it can be hard to stay calm and level-headed. However, this is exactly when you need to keep your cool the most! The best way to do this is by taking a few slow, deep breaths and counting to 10 (or 20, if you need to). This will help keep your body and mind relaxed, allowing you to respond in a more composed manner.
4. Model Calming Techniques
Let your kids see you use calming techniques when they’re having a meltdown. Use soothing words and gentle tones, take deep breaths, count to 10, and use positive affirmations. This will help your child learn how to manage their emotions in a healthy way.
5. Distract Your Child with a Fun Activity
Sometimes all it takes is a little distraction to get your child's mind off of their current situation. Try suggesting a fun activity or game that will get them to focus on something else, other than the tantrum. A change of scenery can also help–take a walk around the block or go outside and play together.
6. Be Proactive
If you really want to train yourself to stay calm and in control around your kids, you need to make a game plan. Right now (or right after you finish reading this article) make a plan for how you are going to react the next time your child has a meltdown. Write down the strategies you want to use and practice them in advance. This will help you stay focused and on track when the moment of truth arrives.
7. Create a Relaxing Home Environment
It's hard to be relaxed in an overwhelming environment. That's why it's important to do your best to make your home a sanctuary where you and your children can come to take a break. Create an atmosphere that is comfortable and inviting. Make sure the temperature isn’t too cold or too hot, and keep the noise level to a minimum. Also, try to keep clutter to a minumum.
I know that's not as easy as it sounds! As a mama it feels like the house is never quite clean enough. Just do what you can, mama.
If your child has a special toy or item they like to use when they're feeling overwhelmed, create a designated space for them to go to when they need some time away. This could be a corner of the room or even a separate room.
The goal is to create a space where your child can go when they feel overwhelmed and take time to manage their emotions.
8. Pray for Patience
If you're the praying kind, then start praying. I truly think this has been the most helpful strategy I have implemented. When my son throws a tantrum, I need a whole lot of Jesus to not get aggravated and respond with frustration.
As mamas, we have a beautiful opportunity to show the heart of Jesus to our babies. Now think about the immense amount of paitence Jesus has for each of us. It certainly can't hurt to ask Him to help you show that same patience to your littles.
When You Blow Up... APOLOGIZE!
Let's face it, your babies will throw a tantrum at some point and you may not handle it with grace. You might even throw a tantrum of your own. This isn’t ideal, but it happens to everyone.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to apologize to your child and talk through the incident. Let them know that you are sorry for the way you responded and ask them for forgiveness.
Let me tell you, there is nothing more humbling than apologizing to your child. I've had to apologize to my son more times than I would like to admit. But I know that it's worth it. Is it fun? Nope. But I know it's going to make me better AND make my children better as well.
By understanding your child’s emotions, validating their feelings, and teaching them how to manage their emotions in a healthy way, you will help build trust and strengthen your relationship. This also teaches your children how to treat others with respect and compassion.
Remember, it’s important to be consistent and stick with the strategies you use, so that your child can learn how to navigate difficult situations in the future.
Good luck mama – you got this!
I don't know about you, but I need all the help I can get when it comes to being a good mom. So I beg, share your wisdom with us! Have you found different methods of coping with your child's emotions? Please share them in the comments below! I'm sure we would all be grateful for any tips or advice you can offer!
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