Staying calm and being patient in the face of a stubborn toddler or preschooler (especially one who is having a meltdown) is one of the toughest things about parenting little kids. So, we're on board any piece of advice that can help us keep our cool especially when it's as easy to do, as this idea from one mom.
Shauna Harvey has a preschool-age son whom she describes as “testy.” On Facebook, she wrote, “I've found myself so incredibly stressed out, I beat my head against the wall daily because I don't understand why my 4-year-old-insists on being disrespectful and a non-listener. I was to the point of crying at least every other day.”
She found comfort in a helpful tip from mommy blogger Kelly Holmes of Idealist Mom. Kelly explained that many of us, though we find it difficult to admit, have developed the bad habit of reacting to our kids’ behavior with sharp words or loud voices. What parents need, she said, is a visual reminder that we need to respond kindly instead of reacting harshly.
Kelly's solution is the “5 Hair Ties” technique, and we understand why Shauna became a big fan. As your kids wake up in the morning, consciously put on five hair ties on your wrist (put it on the hand you often use, like your writing hand).
“It’s important to wait until they wake up because visual cues (in this case, the ties) won’t work very well if they blend into the background and you stop noticing them,” said Kelly.
During the course of your day, every time you catch yourself snapping at your child, transfer one hair tie to your other wrist. The goal is to end the day where your all your hair ties stay in place.
If you slip up, you need to do five simple things each time you snap or lose your cool to reconnect with your little one. It is based on research by renowned psychologist Dr. John Gottman who termed this as the “Magic Ratio.” He found that for every negative interaction in a relationship, five positive interactions must be done achieve balance again. Interactions can be simple as giving her a hug, telling her a funny story, asking her if she wants to play, joining her as she finishes a coloring book, among others.
The hair tie technique is worth trying because it is one of the easiest ways to not give in to your anger. You can do it tomorrow morning, and we bet you will love yourself for doing it. Take it from Shauna.
“I have finished the day with all five bands on the original wrist. I'm very proud of myself for exercising patience with him,” she said. “I know it's only day 1, but I'm hopeful this will help our communication skills and our relationship.”
You can do this, Mom!
Tell us: what's your go-to "calm down" technique to avoid snapping at your child? Comment down below!