Shouting is one of those things we all hate doing, isn’t it? Shouting at our children just doesn’t help anyone but there are times when everything just escalates and you find yourself feeling flustered, stressed and shouty! Raising our voices at our children or partners may rid us of our stress for that one moment but can actually be very damaging for our relationships; especially with children.
Here are my top tips for a calmer home:
1. Count to 5 (or 100!)
Children have a ‘trigger device” where they know what pushes our buttons, don’t they? It may be emptying the toy box all over the floor (that is a stage I promise!) or leaving wet towels all over the floor. Children just have this way of being annoying! However, they often are just testing you as you have probably reacted negatively to these actions in the past. Children just want our attention and will try to get it in any way they can. If they only ever receive attention for negative actions, they will keep doing these negative things! React and praise for positive actions will result in your child doing what you want them to do in the first place. If they do something that is annoying, stop, take a deep breath and count to 5 before reacting. You could also try putting on calming music or trying a meditation. I find this really helpful for young children too.
2. Use eye contact and stop repeating yourself!
You know the scenario where you end up repeating yourself because NO ONE IS LISTENING! It’s infuriating isn’t it? ‘’Dinners ready!” Or “it’s bath time.” No one hears you or no one reacts and you end up getting more and more cross which leads to repeating ourselves and shouting! Giving children and teenagers warnings works really well. Tell them that in 5 minutes, it will be dinner time/ Bathtime. So that you know they have heard you, make younger children look at you so that you have their full attention. This should make everyone calmer!
3. Keep instructions positive and short.
There is no point giving three-part instructions to a three-year old. For example, “go and get me your red pyjamas that are under you pillow and your toothbrush.” They will hear, if you’re lucky, “….toothbrush.’ At three years old, children can only really manage one part instructions such as, ‘please bring me your toothbrush.” Many toddlers will also only hear the end of an instruction so if you say, “don’t put your dinner on the floor!” They hear, “ dinner on the floor.” Keep instructions for little ones manageable, positive and you will find they will often want to help you. “Let’s keep the bath water in the bath so you can have fun!” Encouraging positivity will also create a calmer atmosphere because everyone is feeling more positive about themselves.
4. Accept emotions.
All people, including children, get upset, angry, defiant, stubborn and shouty! It’s normal and we should honour those feelings in our children too. They should be allowed to get upset! It’s not healthy to ask them to stop crying, stop yelling or stop shouting if they are feeling angry. As long as they don’t hurt others, allow them to cry, shout and rage but when they have calmed down, talk to them about how they were feeling. Don’t get angry with their show of emotions! I often see parents getting more cross when their child is crying because they are cross! This doesn’t help anyone. YOU are the adult so leave your emotions to one side whilst you deal with your child’s. Being the calm adult in control shows your child that you are there for them.
5. Be consistent.
This is really important! I hear stories of parents that just can’t understand why their child won’t sleep in their own bed. They take them back to their own bed, they read to them, they are calm and loving parents BUT they allow their child to come into their bed, “just this once.” Or “just at weekends.” Children need consistency not half-hearted parenting! I don’t mean living by loads of rules but if you want your child to be polite at the dinner table, for example, use consistent and positive language to encourage this. ‘Thank you for passing the sauce.” ‘You are using your knife and fork really well today, thankyou.” It’s not rocket science but it does seem weird to start with. Stick with it!
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Does it matter if your child has worn that sweatshirt for three days straight? Who cares if your child insists on wearing the green tutu again? Does it really matter that you haven’t put makeup on this morning for the school run? Honestly, there are some things that you can let go as parents. Decide what is important to you as a family as every family will have different ideas but don’t try to be perfect; there is no such thing! Personally. I made sure my children had always read their reading book/done their homework, had clean, brushed (mostly) hair and washed their face and cleaned their teeth everyday. If they didn’t have a clean sweatshirt on or occasionally wore yesterday’s socks, no one noticed.
Remember, creating a calmer household is all about our actions as parents. Children follow our lead when it comes to how we interact with them. If you are always a shouty, negative, stressed parent, your child will be negative, whinny and badly behaved. Being a positive, caring, kind and respectful parent will show your child how to be a positive, caring, kind and respectful adult. I am in awe of this amazing post over at Lucyathome. Check it out!
I hope you found these tips helpful. What are your tips for a calmer home?
A blog about my life in The Old House, a mum to teenagers, a primary school teacher and my passion for gardening.