Guest Author - Paula Petrie
No isnít maybe, OK when momís in a good mood, or open to debate. No means no, even in public. Kids need to accept when you say, itís time to leave a play area, sneakers arenít worn in the rain, or itís bedtime. Acceptance of these things for 60 percent of our children, only comes with practice. A gentle yet firm, calm and unwavering no, even if the child becomes so firmly planted that you have to carry him, is absolutely necessary. But be assured, that at the base of the tantrum, exaggerated facial expressions, or snubbing you, is a growing respect.
Be sure you explain what you expect from your child, when he is calm and at home. Small children need careful, simplified and straightforward explanations. Tell him often enough so that he has it memorized. Arguing with a child is an emotional wasteland. Ignore pleading. Save your energy for more worthwhile or necessary tasks. Sometimes with a toddler, a distraction is better than explaining at all.
A small childís feelings are important to them even if what they say appears silly to you. Letting a child know that you understand, for example how painful it is to desire something, is more important than buying that object for him. After he has calmed down, explain why that purchase was unrealistic, for example, those toys break easily or he already has one.
Tantrums in a public place should really be ignored. Take your child by the hand or carry him with his arm held down to avoid being punched if you need to. But donít waste your energy reasoning and explaining; your child is past the point of this registering. Check your watch, if it has been a few hours since you've eaten, your child's blood sugar may have crashed and an immediate snack, like a preplanned snack baggie in your pocket, or a chocolate bar by the checkout, will bring him around. A small child canít wait another half-hour or so, without crying it out and becoming a limp pile at your feet. See, department stores do have your best interest at heart with strategically placed candy!
Each child has a limit to how much he can stand. Shorter trips may be necessary for a while. Have another mom from your local playgroup; take turns ďbabysitting for travel milesĒ with you. This works great for running errands.
If your child has been at a friends for a play date, when it is time to go stay firm in your resolution. Getting a child, who is having fun to come without pleading to stay, may take a few tries, but stay firm and he will eventually comply more easily. He is also learning that you mean what you say.