For most of us, our new year resolutions are probably a dim and distant memory by now. We’ve cut down the calories, got ourselves to the gym, and tried to be more organised for a few weeks at least. However, there are a few resolutions that are worthy of our time and attention all year round.
According to a January Mumsnet article, the top habit that mums wanted to ditch in 2018 was shouting or getting cross too regularly. We’ve all been there: you’ve asked them at least twenty-five times to put their shoes on, or, despite putting your child to bed an hour beforehand they are still awake and wanting your attention. While most of us are capable of keeping things under control, we could all do with a few reminders every now and again.
Before you fill up those lungs and take a plunge over the parenting edge, take a moment and digest five quick and easy tips that will make it easier to stop shouting at your children.
Most average families experience moments of chaos where things seem out of control. Taking the time to work out when things are particularly crazy in your own house can be a useful way to develop a strategy that will deliver serenity and calm – even if you’re trying to get to school on time. Taking a week to really consciously try out a new way or system that will work for you and your family can really pay off. We tend to shout when we feel under pressure so simple ideas like preparation or a slightly earlier start can make things instantly a little easier – especially toward the end of term when we all take our feet off the pedal a bit.
Identify your flash points
If you are in a position where you have some help in the home from a partner or even a nanny, being able to identify your personal flashpoints is a way to dissolve tense situations. If you know you cannot take another round of asking your child to get their uniform ready, or are struggling with bedtime, getting your partner to take that particular responsibility for a few days might just be enough for you to recalibrate and adopt a new strategy yourself.
Think like a pro
Instead of getting angry at your child for dropping wet towels or dumping their uniform in a big crumpled pile every evening, take a second to understand why they aren’t doing things the way you like. Just as teachers have expectations about behaviour in their classroom, so too do parents need to have clear expectations for their child. Perhaps a printed list of your expectations on the kitchen wall or even in their bedroom might help them to tow the line. Remember, our children are only young for a short time. In scarily few years they will be out in the world on their own. Instilling good habits now will really pay off.
Perhaps a printed list of your expectations on the kitchen wall or even in their bedroom might help them to tow the line.
One of the most effective behaviour strategies at the disposal of good teachers is to lower the volume. When things are crazy in the home, the temptation is to shout so you can make your voice heard. In reality, this only generates more chaos and reinforces the negative environment. Instead of shouting at your child to get their attention, crouch down, place your hands gently on their arms and whisper. This means your little one will have to really focus and concentrate on what you are saying and makes it much more likely to result in a positive outcome.
Instead of shouting at your child to get their attention, crouch down, place your hands gently on their arms and whisper.
Take a break
If you know that your blood is about to boil and you feel a rage building, take a second to check that your child or children are safe then walk away from the situation and put yourself ‘on the naughty step’. Taking a few minutes to calm yourself down first is not only a good way to de-escalate a situation, but is a good opportunity to model emotional literacy for your offspring. “Mummy needed to calm down because she was feeling frustrated” is a way of showing your child both that it’s okay to feel strong emotions, and gives them a coping strategy when things feel like they’re getting too much.
A final word
So, next time things are ramping up toward full-scale shouting, give one of our top tips a try first. You never know, it just might make the difference.