For many parents, after a long day of (house) work, traffic, errands, cooking, cleaning, homework, clean-up, and dishes, the threshold for patience starts to wear down. Raising kids is a tough job, and even though there are many laughs and lovable moments, there are other not-so-fun moments that can wear parents down.
Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed with the amount of responsibilities on our plate; sometimes we blame ourselves for not getting them all done; and sometimes we blame others for lumping them on our to-do list. When your kids start throwing tantrums, fighting over the same toys, or taking forever to brush their teeth, you may feel like you are about to explode. Here are a few tips to get your cool back when your kids are driving you crazy:
1. Mindfulness. If you know today will be a long and strenuous day, take note of that and check in with your thoughts and emotions. Are you feeling stressed? Tired? Once you are aware of these feelings and recognize that they are no one’s fault, you may be less inclined to snap or yell at others.
2. Check your expectations. Is what you are asking of your child developmentally and age appropriate? Sometimes kids don’t know how to tell us they can’t do something, so they try not to let us down. If you see that your child is consistently having a hard time following through on your requests, check to see if they need some assistance.
3. Re-assess. Check your to-do list. Are there things that can be pushed off for a later date? Reducing the pressure on yourself to get it all done and done right will help lower your stress level and help in your reactions to others.
4. Ask for help. Check your agenda. Can you delegate some things to others? This doesn’t make you any less of a parent. Productive people learn to delegate some responsibilities to others so as to be able to prioritize their tasks on the to-do list.
5. Take a breather. When you feel like this may be a moment when you’ve had enough, take a minute and step out of the situation. Let your child (babies and toddlers, too) know that you need a few minutes to calm down and will be back soon. Go to a place where your child can find you, but do not leave the house. Take deep breaths and remind yourself that this moment will pass. Once you are calm, return to the situation. Your kids will listen to you more if you are calm and collected.
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