Being at home with our kids 24/7 with no end in sight can fray the nerves of the most staunch parent and child. I bring you my top 5 tips to help you through some of the most common of behaviour that you might well be seeing in your homes right now.
1 – Jealousy
Wanting a parents attention and seeming to have to share their attention can be tough for our small humans.
A tactic to try is to reflect that many times our kids don’t want to be ‘fixed’ they need to be understood.
Acknowledging that the child is jealous using I SEE, I HEAR, I UNDERSTAND:
‘I can SEE this is really hard for you when mummy is holding your baby sister. I can HEAR you are frustrated. I UNDERSTAND that you want my attention. What are we going to do?’ At this point if your child is verbal ask their ideas or give them choices shall we do x or y? Do you need a hug?
2 – Patience
Values such as patience, respect, kindness are higher order skills that developmentally your child in their younger years is not necessarily ready for.
In order that your kid(s) understand what patience is you are going to have to let them know when they have demonstrated or shown patience so that when you call on their patience in a certain situation they will have life experience to understand what this actually is.
‘My Arthur you are being patient while you wait for me to give you your tea.’
‘Ella you are being so patient as we wait here in the supermarket line.’
3 – Sharing
I am not a big believer in sharing! There I said it! Do you share your phone with your husband? Do you share your lipsticks with your best friend? Then why should we expect our kids to share what they are doing?
I would encourage your child to ‘take turns’ rather than share, it is a subtle difference but it allows for children to finish what they were doing and then they decide it is time to give it to the other child or to stop what they are doing. They are then more in control of the situation rather than feeling like they are being controlled when asked to share.
4 – Shouting
Shouting can be a default behaviour. When we shout at our kids all we do is help to elevate the spiral of behaviour that is circling up and up before it explodes.
Some things you could try:
- whispering when you feel cross this brings the level down to quiet and calm and your children really do need to listen in order to hear what you have said
- your kids take their cue from you on how to behave so perhaps when you feel you want to shout, count from 5 to 1 while taking a nurturing breath (in through your nose and out through your mouth) and in this time decide if shouting is the best option or could you do something else?
- looking at the situation (possibly after the event) and work out WHY the behaviour occurred that made you shout? Is it something preventable?
5 – Fighting
Fighting between siblings is a natural occurrence, it could be that your kids are working out how relationships work and experimenting. It also might be that when they fight they get their parents attention and therefore because they want the attention and fighting feeds this need so they continue to do it.
What can you do as a parent to catch your kids doing the right thing? Connect with them before you have to correct them.
Are there times of the day when the fighting is worse?
What can you put in place to prevent the fighting occurring? For example enforced quiet time?
Is hunger or tiredness causing the frustrations with each other? Can you pre-empt this and look at naps or quiet time and when you feed them snacks. Think about, what is the quality of the snack, will it sustain them or rather give them a sugar rush?
Praise is a great way to correct behaviour, what can you do to acknowledge what they are doing right, even if it is stepping in and praising part of the process where they paused for breath or walked away.
What we are doing here is reframing their need for attention and feeding the positive.
Praise and acknowledge values rather than outcomes helpfulness, kindness, courage, thoughtfulness, respect are all great things to let our kids know that we see in them.
Bonus Tip – Discipline
This is a BIG topic which I could talk about for hours!
I love to look at what the behaviour is we are trying to correct, is it ‘normal’ developmental behaviour or are we measuring our children up against an adult set of rules?
Are our kids really being naughty or are they experimenting, being inquisitive or testing the world around them?
What is causing the behaviour? Frustration? Tiredness? Hunger?
Have our kid(s) learnt that they don’t need to listen first time as mum or dad will just repeat what they want 5 million times!
Are we tired or stressed and therefore less tolerant of what we are seeing from our kids?
Have we talked to them about expectations? Or have we assumed they can read our minds?
My approach to discipline is to ensure that our kids have clear boundaries, routines and plenty of time across the day and week for connection time with you. This way we are feeding their need to be seen with positives. We are connecting with them before we need to correct them.
Do come back to me if you would like further support, a listening ear or some new ideas. We are in this together and I am very happy to offer you a check in call (free) or a 50-minute online mentoring session. We are in this together,
This blog has been adapted from an original blog that I wrote for Just4Twins.