Friday, October 11, 2013

Leaving that Super Duper Fun Place Tantrum-FREE

Isn't she so cute?
Kids are sweet, thoughtful, kind, and always tell the truth.
Until they don’t.

You go to the park, let them play for an hour, and now it’s time to go home. Your sweet child begins to scream and flails their body on the ground. Sound familiar?

Here are steps on how to get those tantrums to stop when leaving the park, friend’s house, restaurant, grocery store, or where ever sweet little Timmy hates to leave.

1. Give them control in areas that do not affect you:  Closely, look them in the face and ask, “Do you want to leave now or leave in 5 minutes?” Of course they say “5 minutes!”
WAIT! Don’t let them run away, hold them there and ask, “How will you behave in 5 minutes? Will you leave happy or leave sad?”
2. Show them you EXPECT them to listen: When it’s time to go, look them in the face (or else they say, ‘I didn't hear you’) and tell them ONCE, “It’s time to go.” IMMEDIATELY turn away from them and walk to your car. If the tantrum begins, do not respond to their protests, do not look at them, ignore them completely and keep walking. Open their door for them, get in your own seat, buckle up, start the car.
3. Physical discipline speaks louder than words: When children are small I am a huge fan of disciplining physically instead of vocally.  No, don’t go hit your kids, that’s not what I mean. Sheesh.
I mean, If at any point you are going to be out of sight during this walk to your car, then go back and physically pick up your child and move them where you want them. DO NOT speak to them and try not to make eye contact. The reason is to not give them any unnecessary attention for this behavior. 
I’ll give you more examples of physical discipline another time.
4. Time to talk: When an adult is irate or out of control we do not engage in conversation or relationships with them. Teach children this concept. It’s time to talk when they have calmed down. But do not lecture. Here’s what to say…
5. Compassion: You are not the bad guy. Their behavior is the bad guy. Show them this by expressing genuine sadness for their behavior and sympathy for the consequences that will follow. Say, “That was so sad. I love going to the park with you. I am so sad that we can’t go back for a very long time.”
Use compassion to place the blame on their behavior and not on you is great and I’ll tell you more in another post.
6.Consequences that fit the crime: Make the punishment apply directly to the behavior as much as possible. Example; Set up a time very soon (preferably the next day) to suggest going to the park and then “remember” their tantrum from last time. Say, “Oh man! I am so sad! I really wanted to go to the park but we can’t because you yelled so much. Darn.” Repeat this at least two different times.
7. Try again: Go back to the park at some point and repeat steps 1-5 until you have your sweet wonderful child back. Once is often enough.

 I still say the "Do you want to leave now or in 5 minutes?" and I still walk away after I say its time to go because those two principles apply forever. I always want to give them control where I can and I still want them to know I just expect them to do what I say. 
Yay! for happy kids!

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