Parenting Tips & Scenarios
We get it: Parenting is HARD!
We are here to help! We've created some tips & scenarios about our most asked about topics. Check them out below and reach out if you'd like to see a specific topic added.
"My kid just won't listen to me. How can I get him to listen without always feeling like I am yelling?"
A clear and consistent reward system will reduce yelling and increase listening.
Find their motivation: What do they like: tv time, tablet, to have playdates, earn money, stickers, verbal praise? Learning what motivates our kids will allow us to guide them into wanting to do what they need to. No matter what motivates them, be sure to include other rewards as well. This could like having a sticker chart on the fridge but making sure to heap on the praise verbally and with affection.
Clear and Attainable: “You will earn a 30 extra minutes on your tablet if you get five stickers. You earn a sticker when you practice your calming techniques instead of hitting when you are upset.” Be clear about what the reward is and how they will earn it. If you use a reward chart, make the goal attainable. Just remember that this is not about perfection, it’s about your kiddo developing a new skill and habit.
Consistent and Frequent: Consistently catching them doing the positive behavior is important. At first this may look like saying something or giving sticker almost each time they do the desired behavior. As they make progress, the frequency of the reward will decrease but always be sure to notice it. “Nice job walking away when your sister would not share, I could tell you were upset, and you did not yell at her. Give me a high five you rocked it!”
Connected: Connect to the character quality you are trying to nurture. Verbal praise to reinforce the reward. “You showed patience when you waited your turn for the ice cream truck, nice job.”
With consistency and patience, using clear, consistent, and attainable rewards you will see changes in behaviors. Kids want to know what to do and they want to know what to expect, this system will do that for them and will leave you with less yelling to do.
One method to be proactive in de-escalating kids is pre-teaching. Pre-Teaching is when you remind your kiddo of the expectations prior to an event that you know is hard for your kiddo.
"We are going to walk to the library. We stay on the sidewalk, hold my hand, and only cross the street together."
Here you set clear expectations and set them up to succeed.
While walking with your kiddo, "You are doing such a great job holding my hand and staying safe on the side walk." You reinforced the rules and praised your kiddo for following them. Depending on the kid you may need to do this more often but multiple praises will be like stepping stones to obedience.
They may push the limits. "I know you are excited to get there. We are using safe bodies and walking feet." Gentle and consistent responses correct the behavior before it gets out of hand.
A dreaded phrase in many households. Siblings fighting over toys and not wanting to share. It's not practical short term or long term to have one of everything so how can we end the fight and teach sharing?
Intervene...pause the fight, get on their level, and make eye contact with each kiddo.
Give them words..."You both want a turn with this toy." This teaches them what words to use in the future.
Use a timer..."Let's set a timer and you can play with it for five minutes, when the timer goes off it will be his turn and we will reset it for five minutes."
Support the transitions..."Oh, it's his turn now. Thanks for sharing so well. Now I will reset it for you to have your next turn."
After a few rounds, most kids will manage it on their own or move on to another activity. This ends the fight and helps each kid feel heard and important.
A 6-year-old is in the supermarket and starts to melt down, "I want...!"
Dad is staring at his kiddo and trying to decide, "Do I give it to him to avoid this terribly embarrassing moment?" What should dad do next?
Let’s see how dad used pre-teaching before coming into the store.
"Let's review the rules in the store. We are going to walk, us inside voices, we are not going to buy any toys today. If you are able to follow these rules you will earn a sticker on your sticker chart. What are the rules?"
He had his kiddo repeat back the rules and praised him when he did.
Back in the store..."Remember the rules?" Repeat them.
A few things could happen: He will stop begging or he won't.
If he stops, praise him. "Awesome job following the rules bud, you will earn a sticker when you get home."
Immediate praise and promise of a reward reinforces the positive choice.
If your kiddo continues to beg or has a major meltdown:
It's okay to leave, take a break in the car and come back when he's calm.
If you need to drive away and leave a full shopping cart it is OKAY!
You could finish shopping and not give attention to the behavior.
Whatever you choose, remember you are not alone, every parent has had this scenario. The important thing is you remain calm, consistent, and don't give in. You've got this!
Video Game Tantrums
A 5-year-old boy playing his video game becomes frustrated it is not working, yells at the tv, and begins to throw the controller.
What should mom do next?
Intervene: Take the controller and maintain a calm face.
Get on his level: Hovering is intimidating; looking in his eye on his level will help him feel connected to you.
Name the emotion: "I can tell you are frustrated."
Set the expectation: "We don't throw toys."
Change of scenery: "Let's take a break. Would you like to...(read a book, color, play with cars, etc.)?"
Praise when he gets calm: "Good job calming your body."
De-escalating when your kiddo is in full freak out mode can be challenging and overwhelming. If you need a break from the moment so you can control your big emotions, take one. As long as your child is safe, it is totally fine to walk away, do some deep breathing and come back refreshed. When parents keep their emotions modulated, it helps the kids.
When you remain calm and with an even tone, your kid will slowly begin to mirror that. If you do lose your temper, model apologizing.
Does this sound familiar: Your teen becomes indignant when you ask her to fold her laundry,
"Ugh!" Eye roll.
Clearly you ruined her life. "Seriously, after all I do for you? Why are you so rude? I raised you better than this."
She talks back then stomps off, "I hate you!" The basket left behind.
Don't take the bait.
Get your initial goal met.
The goal was not to make her love laundry, the goal was just to get that basket emptied without a fight. If you want to avoid the fight, try purposeful ignoring and praise next time.
"Sarah, come fold your laundry please."
"Ugh," eye roll.
"Mom, it's not like I'm busy right now!"
Continue to wash dishes.
Teen stomps off, grabs the basket and takes it to her room.
When she's done: "Thanks for folding them hun, even though you didn't want to."
Laundry folded - Goal met.
Fight prevented - Didn't Engage
Ignored the attitude - Didn't take the bait.
Offered Specific Praise - Set up for future success
A 10-year-old is sitting at kitchen table doing long division homework, suddenly he breaks his pencil, throws it and, as he stands, he shoves the table into is sister sitting across from him.
Meltdowns could be lessened or even avoided if kids knew a different way to say what they are feeling or need.
Try PEMDAS for emotional support:
Praise positive behaviors
Explain what emotion they are feeling
Model appropriate expression of emotions
Acknowledge your child's emotions
Share in their emotions
So, when your kiddo is ready to start WWIII over their math homework, look them in the eye and follow PEDMAS.
"Bud, I know this is hard and you have tried a lot. you are frustrated. Let's take a break and come back to it together with our minds cleared."
Teaching our kids what emotions are, how to safely express them, and giving them language to use them will reduce some big breakdowns.