It is with most certainty that the saying, “patience is a virtue” is definitely true, especially when dealing with young children during their rants, episodes and tantrums. And amazingly, anything can bring these on: from noise, to misplacing a favorite toy, to the fact the today’s mac and cheese is slightly stickier than yesterday’s.
But dealing with these behaviors doesn’t have to become too stressful to handle. Remembering that behaviors are learned and that there are ways to curb the unpleasant ones will go a long way in helping you deal with episodes much more effectively.
Having been a public educator for more than 10 years dealing with diverse populations and also having two rambunctious boys ages 2 and 4, I’ve grown and learned that there are indeed ways not only to instill correct behaviors in children, but also to curb the undesirable ones. The following might help you make it through your days on a much calmer note:
1. Let them vent! Children will often express themselves aloud because this is the only way they know how. Keeping them from venting and from throwing the occasional tantrum will only make it worse. As long as they are not putting themselves or other in danger, let them. Once the episode is over, do talk to them and remind them of how they wish others to perceive them. For really young children or non-speakers, talk physically. Use gestures and body language.
2. Lead by example. Often our children are simply mimicking behaviors. Remember that children are not born with behaviors. These are learned. Which ones are you showing them? Show them love, care and affection. Newborns and infants need love from the minute they are born. Leaving them to “cry it out” in a crib does not promote self-esteem
3. Investigate the cause. Often the cause of misbehavior is to gain attention. Other causes include lack of rest, hunger and feeling neglected or distant. Remember to give the right attention. If the misbehavior can be ignored, do it. Often these will cure themselves.
Children who don’t rest well do not behave well. The body and brain need rest to work well. When children “make” themselves stay awake, the brain releases chemicals to do so. They will remain awake, but not in a good mood.
When it comes to hunger, remember: drink before food. Often children confuse thirst for hunger. Offer water before food. This may not only solve the problem, but it will keep you from contributing to childhood obesity!
Don’t ignore children. Love, love, then love some more. Children who are loved are loving. If you show children you care, they will care.
And the key to not only these, but to most things in life, is to be consistent! Keeping standards for good behaviors and following through every time will go a long way in establishing those that you really want to see in your children.