Are you looking for some specific ideas about how to stay calm when under toddler-induced stress?
Picture the scene: your little treasure has just smeared Weetabix all over the kitchen wall, which she follows up by spilling juice all over the sofa while attempting to be the first toddler to fly unaided to the moon.
Toddlers drive us all mad at times. This page shows you techniques to stay calm whatever the situation, and what to do if you do lose your temper.
These are also good general techniques to keep your cool under pressure.
So many times on childcare sites I read about how to stay calm. 'You must calm down', say the experts. Wise words. The problem is what follows…
Real, practical tips are what is needed - because the last thing you are able to do when you're stressed is to magically 'calm down'.
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. If you want to learn how to be calm ASAP, this is the most effective method.
Don’t be put off by the psychobabble-sounding name - this simple method has been used worldwide for a range of phobias and traumas, and I myself have found it of great help in times of stress.
EFT is basically tapping on certain points such as the forehead, hand and collarbone to change your emotions - and quickly.
Sometimes there is no point trying to reason with a toddler. Lengthy explanations are lost on young children, and just exhaust you.
In the heat of the moment, words can become not only a way to wind yourself up even more, but also unintentionally hurtful. ‘You stupid girl/boy!’ slips out before you know it.
Get into the habit of having just one or two short phrases that you can resort to when things are getting on top of you. This is a great way to know how to stay calm.
My favourites are: ‘Not happy’ and ‘That’s unkind.’
Sometimes saying nothing at all is even better. I discovered this trick one day while changing my son’s (humdinger of a) dirty nappy. I was exhausted and stressed; he was just exhausted.
After protesting at the barrage of well-aimed kicks that he was raining down on me, I decided that I was too tired to argue and just needed to get the job done.
Not trying to talk him out of his mini kung-fu attack didn’t change his behaviour, but I got the nappy changed without screaming.
Provided you are at home and your toddler is safe, leaving the room to collect yourself for a minute or so is a good idea.
Cooling down, and taking a moment to regroup mentally is one of the best ways of managing how to stay calm.
...deep breaths. yes, I know we have all heard this before but it's surprising how easy it is to forget.
I use to do this, but close my eyes on the out slow breath. I would indicate a finger count by my side, for each breath. I found that I needed 10.
Sometimes my toddler would also calm down and copy me with the breathing. Repeat sometimes!
With the best will in the world, we all blow our top from time to time. Follow this link for advice for when you lose your temper.