My oldest daughter can go from calm to a complete meltdown in a matter of minutes. I’ve always been someone who reacts before I slow down and think, therefore her neurotic episodes can be over bearing and push me to a point in which I’m finding myself arguing with a five year. How can I expect to raise a calm rational child who doesn’t shout, scream, and pout every time she doesn’t get her way, if I can’t keep my calm in front of her when she’s upset? Therefore recently I’ve been looking for strategies to help raise a positive happy child and keep my sanity through the process.
First of all the most important part to me was reminding her being angry, and or upset are normal human emotions. It is natural and ok to be angry or upset when you don’t get your way. It’s all about how we act that matters. Shouting, name calling, etc. is not appropriate behavior. Through that I had to remind myself that when she acts out, I need to stay calm. It’s hard because the first thought in my brain is what am I doing wrong? Then I become overwhelmed and upset, in which my first impulse at that point is to yell back. Which solves nothing.
After compiling information from different places, in conclusion I decided making a clam spot in the living room would be a good safe place for us to sit and talk about how we felt, after we both calmed down of course. So far I have seen enough of an improvement to not need to spend several more hours on research.
Whenever she gets to a point in which she’s pouting, yelling, screaming rather than simply talking to me, I do my best to stay and clam and ask if she wants to relax in the corner with me. Sometimes we will sit down together and sometimes she’ll go and sit alone. Other times both my daughters find their way over there just because they want to cuddle and relax. Which is nice, because I didn’t want the spot to be associated with negative feelings only.
In our safe spot I placed four of the same emotion posters one for each member of the family. As a way to hold my husband and I accountable to the process. That way each member of the family is able to reflect on how they feel and why, allowing us to teach our children a broader spectrum of emotions. I also created two other posters. A poster that reminds my daughter to check in with herself. Our first step during a freak out, is to ask are you hungry, thirsty, tired, or sick. Simply because if we’re hungry, thirsty, tired, or sick situations that would normally not bother us could trigger a freak out. If she answers no, then we proceed to the next poster which identifies ideas that she can take to calm herself down. Once calmed down and rational then we can talk about why she was upset, how she reacted and how she could react next time. I tried to use pictures and text because my daughter is in the early stages of learning to read.
I laminated the posters in order to be able to circle the corespoinding feelings we had, also for durability purposes. The laminator above is the one that I personally use. In order to be able to take the posters off the wall I used Velcro command strips to hang them. (I am a part of the amazon affiliates program therefore I may earn a commission off anything purchased through links above.
Here are two of the sites I looked through for helpful information on how to handle a childs chaotic episodes, and how to stay calm myself. http://www.gozen.com and http://www.sunshine-parenting.com. I picked and chose ideas between the two to determine how to set up my daughters safe area.