Most parents can relate to the morning battle over what to wear to school. Even though your child’s closet is filled with plenty of clothes appropriate for any weather or occasion, you cringe when she shows up at breakfast with a purple plaid skirt, a Mickey Mouse tank top that looks like it’s been worn for days, and green flip-flops.
Or maybe you selected an outfit the night before, but come morning, you’re still convincing her to actually wear it.
Thankfully, parents can avoid many of the power struggles related to clothing by following these four simple strategies (and by signing up for our free online webinar, available at your leisure!).
1. Create Outfits
For younger children, put “outfits” together on one hanger by gathering matching pants, shirts, and socks, and clipping them together. This gives her the power to choose a completed outfit, and it gives you peace of mind that it won’t be a fashion disaster.
It’s also best to hang the rod at a kid-friendly height, so she can feel capable and independent by reaching it herself.
2. Respect Sensory Complaints
Be aware that some kids are more sensitive to itchy tags, bulky seams, and uncomfortable fabrics. If your son has a fit when you suggest he wear a certain type of shirt (because the tag itches or the fabric feels “icky” on his skin), respect that and remove those clothing choices from the mix.
3. Control the Environment
You can’t “control” children (at least not without a battle!) but you can control the environment. If flip-flops in February are out of the question, don’t battle about them, simply remove them from the closet. If they are no longer among the available alternatives for school clothes, they are no longer a point of contention.
If certain clothes are inappropriate for school, separate their drawers or create sections in the closet for school clothes versus fun clothes. Give your kids the power to choose anything they want to wear as long as it comes from the school drawer.
4. Let it Go
The very best strategy to avoid power struggles and foster independence is to “let it go,” and allow your child to make her own clothing choices.
You can provide some training about “matching colors” if you’d like, but remember that fashion and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder. It’s much more important that she feel independent and powerful by having some control over her day.
Kids perceive that parents call the shots and make most of the decisions. Giving her the option to select her own clothes gives her a big “hit” of positive power and goes a long way in fostering self-sufficiency, avoiding negative power struggles, and limiting morning dawdling!
If her choice does result in a fashion disaster, don’t worry about what others think. Most teachers love to see kids arrive for school in mismatched clothing. They know it means mom and dad recognize their child’s need for independence and positive power.
Our 7-Step Parenting Success System®course offers far more strategies for morning dawdling, bedtime battles, chore wars, and more. For a preview, join us for our free online class: Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. Discover why parents say it’s the best hour they’ve devoted to improving their parenting!
It’s an hour past your son’s bedtime, but sleep is the furthest thing from his mind as he throws his little body onto his bedroom floor. All he wanted was justone more sip of water.
He screams, he cries, he shouts. It’s nothing you haven’t been through before, but it hurts nonetheless. No one likes a temper tantrum.
You stand idly by, utterly exhausted, and think, “Is there anything on earth worse than this right here?”
Of course, you know the answer.
Yes. There is indeed something worse. After all, you could have an audience.
I’m talking about public temper tantrums.
I’m sure you can just imagine it now. The snickering, the finger-pointing, the staring. Public tantrums are uncomfortable, awkward, and downright humiliating. But more than anything–they’re common!
In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find an experienced parent who hasn’t had at least one mortifying tale to tell when it comes to their little one breaking down in the middle of a crowded place. So take comfort in knowing that you are most certainly not alone.
Still, just because they do happen doesn’t mean they have to happen. Because going out in public with your child should not be something you dread.
Naturally, stopping a tantrum from happening in the first place is much more ideal than having to deal with one once it’s already begun. You know your child better than anyone else; what makes him tick and what sets him off. Now is the time to be proactive! Try and avoid a tantrum all together by taking charge and thinking ahead before ever stepping foot outside your house.
Of course, even with the best preparation, sometimes tantrums are simply unavoidable. Even in public places. When that happens, it’s time to go to the next best option…
In a perfect world, our children would behave like angels any time we went out in public. There would be no need to worry about last-minute trips to the grocery store or play dates that extend into naptime.
But that’s not reality, is it?
Tantrums happen and, all too often, they happen in public. When they do, you may be tempted to yell, threaten, or cry yourself–but don’t! Instead, look for ways to diffuse the tantrum rather than fan the flame.
Here are 4 strategies you can use for dealing with tantrums in public.
Strategy #1: Be Prepared
When it comes to doing anything with children–especially going out in public–preparation is key.
Before leaving your house, make a mental checklist of where you will be going and what issues could possibly arise to trigger a tantrum–then prepare for them!
Does your grocery trip set off a tantrum each time you pass the toy aisle and not allow your son to buy a new Hot Wheel? Is your doctor’s appointment right across the street from your daughter’s favorite ice cream shop?
When tantrums start to arise, distraction is key. Having a few small games, coloring books, or toys on hand can help keep your child’s mind busy and a tantrum at bay.
Not sure what toys would be best to bring along? Aim for sensory toys! Not only do kids find them enjoyable to play with, but they are stimulating enough to help develop their fine and gross motor skills. Textured balls and shaker eggs are perfect for keeping your younger toddlers and babies occupied, while fidget spinners and silly putty are great for older kids.
It’s also equally important to prepare yourself mentally. Despite your best efforts, a public tantrum may still happen. If it does, set your intentions clearly beforehand: You are not going to worry about the judgment of others. Instead, you will focus on the needs of your child and the situation.
Knowing and accepting that a tantrum may still happen will help you remain calm and respond to the situation appropriately.
Strategy #2: Give Them a Job
You’ve tried and tried to put it off as long as you could, but your empty pantry and barren refrigerator seem to be screaming at you, “It’s time to go grocery shopping!”
And if that’s not enough, you have to bring along your four-year-old daughter, which makes the task so much more daunting. After all, her attention span is incredibly short and you’re looking at a minimum hour-long shopping trip. From experience, you know a public tantrum is likely.
You could just stay home. That half sleeve of saltines should be enough to live off of for the foreseeable future, right?
OR, you could confidently go to the store…and give your daughter a job.
Who says grocery shopping has to be a chore?
Why not make it a fun experience by coming up with a grocery store scavenger hunt? Armed with a clipboard, crayon, and your grocery list, find fun ways to incorporate what items you need with scavenger hunt items she must find.
Need to make a trip down the cereal aisle? Send her on the hunt for brands that start with the letter C. Looking for some fresh produce? How many green vegetables can she find? Not only will this game give her a boost of positive power from helping you do the shopping, but it should also be enough to keep her entertained for the entirety of the trip.
Strategy #3: Control Your Reaction
As a parent, your reaction to your child’s tantrum can be a force for good or evil. I’m kidding, of course, but there is a fine line between overreacting and not reacting at all.
On the one hand, an overreaction on your part could prove to your child that he can successfully push your buttons by acting out in public, thus giving him a reason to continue the negative behavior in the future. However, not reacting at all and ignoring your child’s tantrum may not be wise if he truly does need your help in working through his big emotions.
Like I said, it’s a delicate line to toe.
In order to make sure your reaction is spot on, it’s important to understand that there are two types of tantrums: upstairs (manipulative) and downstairs (meltdowns).
According to Dr. Daniel Siegel, co-author of The Whole-Brain Child, Upstairs tantrums come from the more highly developed “upstairs” part of the brain used for logical thinking, regulating emotions and evaluating consequences.
With this type of tantrum, the child makes a conscious decision to act out and push the limits to get her way, and can also decide to stop acting out as soon as you give in to her demands. Simply put, these tantrums are designed to manipulate you.
With an upstairs tantrum it is best to simply not react so he doesn’t get a power payoff from acting out. Remove yourself from the situation–no eye contact, no talking down, and no negotiating.
Downstairs tantrums deal with what Positive Parenting Solutions calls “meltdown” tantrums. These tantrums are controlled by the downstairs part of a child’s brain, which handles such tasks as breathing, blinking, and instinctual reactions. In this type of tantrum, the child has been pushed beyond his physical or emotional limit and “melts down” as a result.
Here the child is so upset he can no longer access his higher-level “upstairs” thinking, such as using any form of logic. Which explains why telling him “the blue plate is in the dishwasher” gets you nowhere when he’s tired and hungry after a morning of errands.
Your reaction to a downstairs tantrum is equally as important as your lack of a reaction to an upstairs tantrum. Here is where your child needs you to help him calm his big emotions while you make a mental note that you’ll want to do some training on managing overwhelming feelings in the future.
After a long morning spent running errands around town, you decide to treat your two-year-old to a Happy Meal and a trip to the play place. After all, he did so well behaving all morning.
Once the nuggets are eaten and the restaurant starts to quiet, you look down at your watch. It’s naptime.
You walk over to your son, happily playing in the ball pit and say, “Time to get out, sweetie. We need to go home for a nap.”
Suddenly, the sweet little boy you’ve known all morning is nowhere to be seen. His face squinches in rage as he starts to scream in protest. Before you know it, balls are being thrown, tears are being shed, and a full-on public temper tantrum has begun.
You can feel the other parents in the room staring at you. Some offer a nod of condolence–surely they’ve been in your shoes before–but most just stare, making you feel like an ant under a magnifying glass.
With the tantrum in full-swing and your anxiety rising by the second, the best thing you can do in the moment is to change the scenery. Find someplace in the area more private–perhaps the bathroom or your car outside–and remove both yourself and your son from the room.
While it can be embarrassing walking away with a thrashing toddler hoisted over your shoulder, finding a more private place to deal with the tantrum will help calm your nerves and allow you to focus on helping your son without the distraction of an audience.
No matter who you are or how long you’ve been a parent, dealing with your child’s temper tantrums in public is never easy.
We’ve all been there–fighting through the embarrassment, anger, sadness, and utter desperation that pops up when it seems as though all the world’s judgment is focused squarely on us. But there is help!
Not only can we help you find ways to stop tantrums before they’ve begun, but the Positive Parenting Solutions course is also filled with useful tools and strategies to help you deal with temper tantrums of every kind, in every place, with every age.
Feel free to give us test us a test run first by JOINING ME FOR A FREE ONLINE CLASS where I’ll teach you how to get your kids to listen–no nagging, yelling, or reminding required.
I assure you, no tantrum is too big to handle. Especially when you’ve got the right tools in your belt and the right support to help you every step of the way.
Ahh, summer vacation. What could be better than the all-American, old-fashioned family road trip with kids?
Not much…until the whining starts.
Before you reach for the earplugs, try one of these fun solutions — suggested by the creative parents in our members-only Facebook Group — to keep your kids happy and you sane.
Road Trip Games
Games are a great way to include the whole family while painlessly passing the road trip with kids. Here are just a few of our favorite suggestions:
Name that Tune
Spot the State License Plate
Or, better yet, turn the tables around and put parents in the hot seat while teaching youngsters a bit about the country — have kids look at an atlas and quiz mommy and daddy on states and capitals.
Or if you’re crawling through a busy town, try Red light/Green light. To play, divide your car into teams and say, “If we make a light, we (green team) get a point and if we get stopped at the light, the red team scores.” This way everyone wins (gets points) and/or loses (hits red lights) and it’s a great way to prevent the whining about getting there and the potential road rage on my part.
Road Trip Activities
When you’ve had enough road trip competition for one day, try your hand at some of these activities.
Small Dry Erase Boards for letting writing or a game of pictionary
Dance Party — turn up the jams and let them get their sillies out in their car seats
Alluminum foil art competition — bring along a dollar-store roll of aluminum foil to keep the kids busy for hours. Little ones can wrap their sippy cups and books. Older ones can make sculptures and chains to hang across the car.
Pipe cleaners and post-it notes are also a great hit for littles. What crafty souvenirs can your kids create?
Final Road Trip Tips
Just remember, a little control goes a long way towards keeping whiny kids at bay. Empower your kids by letting them help plan part of the trip: each child could pick an attraction to visit, or where the family will eat.
And let kids have a say in such things as the music choices, snacks, or whether or not to take the “scenic” route. These small doses of power your kids experience will cut down on power struggles throughout your journey.
If you need a little peace and quiet while you drive, try leaving at bedtime for longer rides. It’ll be seat belts on and lights out as your kids dream away the hours on the road.
And if all else fails, the portable electronics can be a great distraction. But too many movies can turn kids into backseat couch potatoes, so be sure to set reasonable limits.
Want to know the very best way to keep everyone happy on your next long road trip with kids? Don’t forget to set aside time each day for some one-on-one attention for each of your children.
When kids get consistent positive attention, they are less likely to act out in negative ways, like throwing their flip-flops out the car window.
Best of luck, my friend, we are wishing you all the best on your road tripping adventures
Title Image: Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com / photos
This less-than-helpful word can be discouraging and confusing to kids when they hear it all the time, plus it only reinforces the bad behavior.
While it’s fine to say “no” and “don’t” sometimes, you’ll get more cooperation from your kids if you can avoid them.
Use these four strategies to cut back on the negatives and promote the positives:
Tell your kids what to DO. Start switching each “don’t” to a “do.” Instead of reminding your child, “Don’t track mud all over the floor!” try, “Please take off your shoes before coming into the house!” Swap, “Don’t chew on your sister’s
Lego’s,” with, “Please keep those out of your mouth.”
Just say “Yes!” While it’s quicker and easier to reply, “No,” when your child asks to go to the library while you’re knee-deep in closet re-organization, try substituting a, “Yes, that sounds great. I can take you later this afternoon
or tomorrow morning–which would you prefer?”
Replace, “No, you can’t go out and play. You haven’t finished your homework!” with, “You bet, you can play with your friends when you’ve finished your homework.”
Say thank-you in advance. Help your kids make an appropriate choice by taking this leap of faith. Your, “Thank you for hanging up your towel after your shower,” will encourage your kids toward good behavior much more than, “I better
not see your towel on the floor again!”
Another example: “Thank you for keeping all four chair legs on the floor,” will go over better than, “You’ll break your neck if you keep leaning back on your chair like that!”
Practice the positive through role-play. The most effective way to learn how to behave in a variety of situations is through proper training. Decide what kind of behavior you’d like your child to use (anything from taking turns to
addressing adults respectfully to making his bed properly), and then practice it in a low-pressure situation.
Role-playing with dolls or action figures will get younger kids excited, while a conversation (not a lecture) will help get older kids on board.
Making these changes to your communication style will require some effort on your part but the payoff will be worth it.
Your kids will feel more encouraged, they’ll develop a positive, empowered perception of themselves and you’ll enjoy better cooperation all around.
Looking for NO-YELLING strategies to get more cooperation from your kids? Join us for our FREE online class: How to Get Your Kids to LISTEN Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. Find upcoming dates and times here.
A few weeks ago a question was asked on our Facebook page as to how to deal with your teen’s verbally abusive boss. This was a great question that I felt warranted an entire post to cover. The result of which is below. Thanks!
You left the footnote off the month-end accounting report again, and your boss is managing everything except her temper. As an adult, you may be able to shrug it off, but what about when your teen burns the French fries on her Friday night shift, and her boss flips his lid? Unfortunately, some bosses don’t take their teenage employees as seriously as they should, and can turn constructive criticism into verbal abuse at the drop of a salt shaker. And when your teen is at the receiving end of a long string of swear words, it might be time for a career change.
Although our teens will be out on their own very soon, it’s still our job to offer plenty of support as they enter the working world. Teaching positive job skills and professionalism now will really help them down the road as they advance from car washer to computer engineer. And one of the first lessons should be how to deal with a tough boss–and when to say enough is enough. Read More →
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