Mini Dictator Mantra’s To Diffuse The Most Tricky Situation
Here are my top 10 favourite phrases to see a tantrum off at the pass. Guaranteed to keep you calm and in control. Print out and pop them on the fridge and in no time these will be second nature to you. These are phrases I teach parents of testing 3 and 4 year olds to manage the strongest of temperaments and most defiant mini dictator!!
- When and then – “when your hands are clean then you can have your dinner”.
- Can I help you? – when you can see your little one struggling to do something and getting frustrated this can diffuse their building tanty. It pu’s them in control and owning the power so avoiding the power struggle which happens when any well-meaning parent wants to help.
- “It is totally okay to feel angry—I would too. When you can, find some words to tell me so I can help you find an answer/get what you need.” This validates their feelings and demonstrates empathy with how your child is feeling. It gives words for emotions and allows them to calm down when the’re ready. It says your feelings are important and I want to help you.
- “Asked and answered,” or “You asked, and I already answered.” This says I heard you and that’s it…end of discussion. It cuts things off and can stop a situation escalating into a behemoth of an argument.
- “It is okay to be mad, but it is not okay to be mean.” This is a great one to stop your 4 year old when they say classics like I hate you. It validates the anger but doesn’t allow them to say truly mean things to their mum. Gold. Remember and use this and you should find those mean words will be used far less.
- “I see you are mad. It is not okay to hurt, break or throw.” If the child continues to ramp it up, try this: “Is this worth losing ____ over? I am here to help you calm down so you don’t lose ____.” – Use a consequence that is reasonable, age-appropriate and the child has been forewarned about when everyone is calm. It’s a good idea to make a calm-down plan so adults and children know what steps to follow when anger bubbles over. Use these elements in your plan/house rules:
a) a key-word to remind you of your plan like “freeze” or “stop,”b) an action to let the “anger bubbles” come out like jumping 10 times,c) clapping your hands, count backwards from 11,d) remind yourself to breathe,
The family can agree that if the plan or house rules isn’t used and hurting, breaking or throwing keep happening, then _____ will be the consequence. Reassure your child you will help him/ her with the calm-down plan. This strategy works best when all members of the family agree to use it.
- “You do not need to eat, but you do need to sit at the table with the rest of the family.” This takes the pressure off and 9 times out of 10, they eat. Food and eating is a behaviour I advise never having a battle over. This ends in disaster and a big stand off. It leaves the choice with the child exactly where it should be.
- “Mummy and daddy feel so good because we were able to sleep because you did such a great job of staying in your bed all night long. Thank you so much!” Children want to make us proud and help parents well-being. It’s important to let them know when they’ve done a good job and connect the activity to the praise (labeleed praise).
- There are four steps/ phrases to handling frustration: a. Show your child you see his or her upset (helps your child feel important). “You threw the car—I see you are upset.” Put a hand on your melting-down child and softly say, “I know, (name) I know.” b. Use a feelings word. “Your brother took your truck and now you look angry. Is that right?” c. Pause – waiting is important to allow the child to process d. Help your child move into rational thought by asking a question that focuses on problem solving or to find some words to explain. “Do you need a 1) Break, 2) To try again, or 3) Help?”
Ta-da! I hope you loved this list as much as I loved putting it together 🙂