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I never thought the day that I’ll be raising my voice toward Kai or — regrettably — pinching his bum because he’s being naughty will come. I can still remember his face and those times when he was a newborn – so quiet, so delicate, so well-behaved and I thought to myself he’s such an angel I couldn’t bring myself to hurt him. But now he’s a toddler and all over the place, it’s definitely a challenge not to lose your patience as a mom.
When you’ve got a toddler running around the mall and refuses to be held and then gives you a mini heart attack when he runs for the escalator, again, it’s hard not to lose your patience as a mom. I easily lose it when Kai scares the sh*t out of me (like almost hurting himself or putting himself in danger because of his mischief) compared to him not listening to what I tell him to do. But when he becomes really stubborn and I’m meeting deadlines and he stops me from finishing a task, I tend to raise my voice. Each time, I always regret doing what I just did and I end up re-evaluating myself as a parent and think deeply about how I can make things better.
Parenting toddlers is not easy – it’s not for me. I know a lot of moms who may have things under control but I am also certain there are other moms out there who share this struggle. Normally, I can keep my cool and just ignore everything but eventually, there will come a time that I’d lose it. If you’re like me and you want to lessen (or ultimately eliminate) raising your voice or laying a hand on your child, here are some tips on how not to lose your patience with your toddler.
Note that I am not a toddler parenting expert, because I’m still dealing with a spirited one myself. These are tips that I have used, though, or suggestions that we could all use so we can be more mindful of our words and actions in front of a young and observant child.
#1. “Brace yourself” during a bad day.
That is – if you’re already having a bad day. What usually happens is that anything small can make you feel bad and when you put in a naughty toddler to the mix it can make things a lot worse. If you notice that you’re always in a bad mood, don’t be with your toddler just yet. Instead, do some light, relaxing tasks to help transition your mood before you spend time with your little one.
#2. Say a mantra
If nothing is going right with your day, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re simply having one bad day and that it will end soon. This should help you go easy on a naughty toddler and remind yourself that the pile of unwashed dishes in the sink and the clogged toilet are the real reasons you’re having a bad day. Pick a mantra that you can say to calm yourself. These two mantras from Empowering Parents are an awesome mantra you can make as your favorite.
I am in charge of my calm. No matter how my child behaves.
I’ve managed this before. I can manage it again.
Or you can just say, “I love my kid more than (the clogged toilet/unwashed dishes/chores/plates/wall etc.).” What’s your mantra?
#3. Ignore and walk away
If your child is whining too much or throws a fit, sometimes it’s better (and easy) to ignore and just calmly walk away before you lose it — unless, there’s aggression like kicking, biting, hurting himself or others, involved.
Don’t argue, don’t make eye contact during an outburst, as suggested in an article from Parents. If he sees that his actions don’t have an effect on you, he’ll likely stop. In the case of public tantrums, pick your child up and calmly walk away to a different spot – a safer and quieter area where your kid can let it all out. Once there, you can calmly explain all about your situation. Sometimes, a hug might just soothe him – of this I’m sure because I’ve used hugs to calm down Kai who was throwing a fit.
#4. There’s always a reason
You can’t just say that your child is throwing a tantrum for no reason because there’s always one and it’s your job to know about it and address it, no matter how small. It could be that his favorite YT video wouldn’t play, or that he’s missing a crayon or that he ran out of paper to color on. Sometimes, it’s just that he’s sleepy, hungry or needs a comforting human touch.
#5. Don’t reason out
Your kid is in chaos when he’s throwing a tantrum and he can’t understand the overwhelming emotions inside, which is why he screams and kicks and cries. That’s all he knows he can do. Just let your kid blow off steam and when he’s calmer, that’s the time to approach.
#6. Use humor
This works for us 100% most of the time and it’s his goofy dad who makes him laugh. Many times, we can see Kai’s about to burst but when Daddy steps in to make a funny face and say his crazily hilarious lines, our little one forgets about ever feeling bad and laughs instead. And then we’d follow up with a game of “what’s this” – basically it’s us making gestures with our hands and fingers and guessing what it is.
#7. The hair-tie trick
These are just some of the tactics I’ve used on Kai and it really helps me not lose my patience as a mom. It’s just that sometimes, I tend to forget these things and resort to yelling instead. We’re not perfect, after all. When things go wrong and you realize that you’ve done it again, there’s another important thing to remember – be ready to apologize. Apologizing means you accept that you are wrong and when you do it, it lets your kid know that he or she is respected.
How do you make sure you don’t lose your patience as a mom? Let me know in the comments below.