Friday, May 27, 2011

How To Stop A Tantrum

Jayne is 2 years old now. This has never been the same when Joey was at the same age. Joey has always been more responsive to the cane, we don’t have to use it often, but the mere mention of certain discipline will get her attention. Jayne is totally different. Even with a whip of the cane (which is rare in case you think I’m a monster), she will only cry for about 5 secs, then she will seek refuge with whoever is available at that moment. She will just cling to them and act ‘pitiful’. How to really discipline such an innocent face, right?

Recently I read an article on how to stop a tantrum. Give you kids a choice.

Sometimes a simple “this or that” choice is the secret to keeping tempers and tantrums under control. By giving our kids choices on some things, we are letting them exercise control they desire and minimize battles of wills which are so common once kids reach 2 and 3.

Here are some pointers for discussions:

1. Make the decisions little
The point is not to let our child decide if she wants a bath or not. When we see the sweaty child dozing off before dinner; we know it’s time for a bath and sleep. Instead of pulling them straight to the bathroom or nagging them, why not let them decide on what bath toys to bring into the bathroom. Or which bath towel to use. This way, we get the child to bathe and also train the child in decision-making.

2. Give choices that you approve
Don’t give our kids the choice between fast food or healthy food. For sure they will choose fries over some porridge you have prepared for hours. Even adults like us will choose fast food. So the deal is not giving them choices that we do not approve. Instead give them choices like apple or banana, cartoon or board games. Of course, there is no harm giving our kids the occasional treat (ice cream, fries, etc).

3. Give concrete options for little kids
”Do you want to eat your cookie before or after dinner?” This may not work with kids in their 2s or 3s. They may not understand the difference or value of delay gratification. Instead give options like: Do you want to watch Mickey Mouse or Tom & Jerry before bedtime? Concrete options.

4. Stand firm
Always let our child know that there are only 2 or 3 choices she has and don’t budge. After a day of making little choices for herself, when she decides it’s not time to sleep yet, firmly tell her that she has made lots of decisions today, and now it’s Daddy’s time to make the decision.

When we are able to instil this training in our kids when young, it will definitely be easier for us when they grow up and we start to talk to them on bigger issues like BGR, Health, etc…

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