Christmas Calm, Managing Behaviour, STRESS-LESS PARENTING

TIPS FOR KEEPING CHRISTMAS CALM

It’s that crazy, chaotic time of year again, when we spend a couple of months preparing for one big day!

And with so many expectations around the ‘Perfect Christmas’ its no wonder we all feel so overwhelmed.

But here’s some tips for keeping Christmas calm this year.

PREVENT OVERSPENDING AND OVER BUYING

Children don’t understand the financial cost of gifts, they value things on the value they have to them entertainment wise.

They like to play and experiment with toys, which usually means expensive things get broken. So, a good trick is to look at any new toy that we give a child as broken already. This money saving technique will prevent overspending on expensive toys while gift shopping. Making a list of what you’re buying beforehand, also helps. Then, wrap gifts straight away, keeping a note of what you bought for whom and how much it cost, to prevent over spending and last-minute panic buying.

PREVENT OVERSTIMULATION AND OVERWHELM

Routines are key. Children need to know what to expect, when, where and why more than ever during the holidays.

Work things around your child’s regular routine, not around anything or anyone else.

Stick to regular bedtimes and mealtimes, while offering plenty of warnings and reminders of what’s to come.

And spread the joy, anticipation and appreciation for visitors, sweet treats and gifts, over a few days, rather than in one go.

MANAGE YOUR OWN STRESS LEVELS

All that shopping, spending, wrapping and prep can be stressful, so don’t forget to take some daily U Time for yourself to just relax. Whether that’s a soak in the bath after a long day or sitting down with a cuppa, taking time to breathe in the here and now and get organised in your head, reduces stress.

Take our Mumatherapy Stress Checker Quiz now to check your stress levels

TRAVELLING TO VISIT FAMILY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

This year many of us will want to visit friends and family to make up for last year’s Covid restrictions but the mere thought of this maybe making you feel anxious.  If so, plan ahead now to ensure you and your partner are not stressed with one another. Your energy (and anxiety) will rub off on the little ones, so calm kids need calm parents when travelling. But you can still expect some bored and restless behaviour along the way and if you have more than one child, there’ll be squabbling too. This is normal but you can help alleviate some of it by making regular stops for a feed, to stretch legs and take toilet breaks and making the journey a fun experience, by listening to their favourite songs or pointing out the scenery and playing games such as; count how many red cars you can see or spot the mini, and taking along activities such as colouring books or digital devices.

AVOIDING THE EMBARISSMENT OF TODDLER TANTRUMS WHEN VISITING FAMILY AND FRIENDS?

Be proactive in pre-empting your child’s moods and emotions and get everyone in your team. Let friends and family members know your child’s routines and triggers. And to prevent any undue attention, remind everyone beforehand that your child may act childish (kids are childish, so you don’t need to feel embarrassed by other people unrealistic, expectations of your children) and encourage grownups to just ignore any carrot flinging episodes or melt downs at bedtime.

HOW TO BALANCE EXPECTATIONS WITH REALITY?

Keep your own expectations realistic and stay present in the moment and forget what you didn’t do or buy, and stop worrying about how tomorrow will work out.

Christmas is a memory making moment, make happy Christmas memories your child will cherish, and enjoy this time yourself.

Build that Lego castle, watch that family movie together and stay present in each and every moment, that’s the real gift that keeps on giving.  

Until next month,

Stay Present, Em x

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Terrifying Toddlers & Other Childish Behaviour

Very young children, such as those ‘Terrifying Toddlers’ can’t control themselves. Can’t be controlled by others. And can’t always understand rules and routines to begin with. 

We have to be patient and persist with our rules and routines, until they learn them.

Until then, as parents we have to; stop trying to stop or control their tantrums.

The Tantrum

As long as they are not harming anyone, including themselves, we can feel free to just leave them to it, while they tantrum it out of their system.

We should never avoid people, places or situations, through fear of the dreaded tantrum.

If we do, this means that our children’s behaviour is controlling us.

We have to show them that we are not going to be controlled. If we are worried that they may misbehave or embarrass us, then we will never be able to coach them in public, positively or effectively. Fear and embarrassment, are the main culprits for many parents losing control and shouting, smacking or nagging relentlessly.

We are not perfect parents (no one is) but as Confident, Proactive and Present Parents, we can allow our children the freedom to tantrum.

If we remain calm and un-phased, they will soon learn that there’s no point in carrying on anymore and will act appropriately. 

We just need to watch their non -verbal and verbal cues, to warn us when a tantrum is about to erupt. Often the best thing to do is offer a gentle distraction, while we try to figure out what is behind that particular episode and how best to communicate with them.

Distraction & Love

If distraction fails then, we can simply do nothing except, acknowledge to them we are aware that they are upset. While letting them know that, we cannot help them while they are having a tantrum. Reassuring them that, this frightening reaction they’re experiencing will soon end. And we will be there to talk to them and try to help them, when they have finished.

Then if it is safe to do so, we can walk away and let them tantrum it out alone, until they come to us for a cuddle afterwards.

Our children fight for our attention any way that they can. If the negative approach doesn’t seem to be working, they’ll soon come to us for some love.

Children are Childish

When they realise, they are not getting the attention that they desire, they will soon become bored and stop of their own accord. We shouldn’t take it personally though or hold a grudge against them. It’s a childish way of venting their frustration but it’s the only way that they know how to.

Misbehaviour and tantrums, are just signs that can help us to find the source of the problem. If we can treat them as clues as to how our children are feeling, and find out why they feel this way? This can better help us to help them.

These outbursts can be very valuable in understanding and connecting with our children. As long as we can be proactive and take them in this way, instead of trying to stop them.

When we are ill, our body cries out in pain to let us know that something is wrong and needs our attention. It’s the same for our childrens tantrums, they are our childrens way of trying to tell us, they need help with something that they can’t cope with alone.

We just have to listen and Stay Present!

Em x

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CHILDREN SHOULD BE SEEN AND NOT HEARD

Photo’s by Ben White on Unsplash

UNIQUE CHILDREN NOT BEHAVIOUR

Parenting is the most important job in the world, and the one thing that we don’t want to get wrong. In fact, the implications of doing so are far reaching and can impact society.

That’s why we desperately search for that quick fix solution to solve our children’s behavioural issues. And why parenting books, classes and TV programmes on managing children’s unruly behaviour, are so popular today.

We want answers.

We want solutions.

We want to find that one way to get it right.

TRIAL AND ERROR

Yet, parenting’s something that we can only truly learn from experience, which includes trial and error.

There’s no precise formula or rule book. Luckily, we make the rules.

Our children despite their behaviour are all unique, and your Child is no different to any other child on the planet.

Their severe mood swings, toddler tantrums and sulky teenage behaviours, are never new to the world of parenting.
They are timeless problems that every parent face. Their fluctuating moods start from twelve months of age, that’s when they become emotionally labile and start developing their own sense of identity.

Children have misbehaved this way for centuries, even before they were freed from the ‘Children should be seen and not heard’ era.

Tempting as it may seem to go back to that time, when children supposedly respected their elders, this would not be good for our children.

As a Mum, Childminder and Therapist, I would be more concerned, if a child never displayed any kind of unwanted behaviour. As this would likely be an unhealthy physical or psychological sign something’s wrong. Meaning the child’s supressed and has given up trying to be who they really are.

Unwanted behaviour is not unnatural or uncommon, but our children are all different.

Each and every child we have is a genuine one off. No sibling could or should ever be the same, nor should our sisters, cousins, or friend’s children be either.

Accepting, allowing and embracing our unique children, (with not so unique behaviour) is how we begin to understand them.