Life with young children can be hard. Some days it feels like they can just be so demanding, whiny, and let’s not mention the temper tantrums and power struggles.
But, life doesn’t have to be quite so hard with little ones. There are steps we can take to make life a bit happier when parenting young children.
Children thrive on a good routine. I’m not talking about scheduling your whole day and not allowing for flexibility, but instead have times during the day that are the same every day. I have 3 parts of my day that are routine; morning, mid-afternoon (lunch and nap), and bedtime.
By knowing what comes next and not being surprised by changes, a child will be able to transition from one activity to another with less frustration, fewer power struggles, and temper tantrums.
Connection is key when it comes to children. The more connected you are with your children, the more they will listen to you and want to comply. When a child’s attachment tank is empty the more they will ask for attention in negative ways (screaming, temper tanrums, pushing boundaries).
For me, when I notice that my children are starting to act up and they start pushing boundaries, the first thing I do is set up some good Mommy and kid time. I see a noticeable difference in their behavior when our relationship is strained. The most noticeable for me was when my older son said he didn’t love me anymore. I found ways to have some good Mommy and J time, and life got better.
Follow through with what you say. It’s important that we follow through with whatever consequences we set for our kids. But, even MORE important than that is that we should follow through with the promises we make. This will help our children trust us and that we care about their wishes.
When children trust that you really will do that super special thing in one hour, they won’t feel the need to cry and scream about it, or keep pestering you to do it right now.
Let it Go
I find that I get really frustrated at really small stuff sometimes, so I ask myself a few questions to remind me if it’s really important or not.
- Will this hurt him or someone else?
- Will this cause damage to property?
- Does this go against our family’s rules, values or beliefs?
If the answer is no…I let it go. The more strict we are with our children, the more push back we will get from them. Children, like all humans need a sense of power over their lives and if they are constantly told “no” than they will find a way to get their power back…usually in negative ways through power struggles and temper tantrums.
It’s so easy to rush through life and rush your children with you. We hurry through diaper changes, bedtimes, bathtime, and meals. We rush to playdates, school drop off, sporting events. Rush, rush, rush.
When we slow down and take the time to talk and play during the times of day we are taking care of our children, we become more available to them. We connect, talk, engage.
When we stop doing so much outside stuff, we have time to spend family time together. We get to relax, play, and build strong, healthy relationships with our kids.
The more time we have with them the more time we have to…
Be silly and playful with your children. Have fun with them! It helps build a strong, happy relationship with your kids. Play is children’s natural language and is a huge part of their world. So it’s a really big deal to them when you take the time to step into their world and connect with them.
When we roughhouse, we not only connect with kids, we allow them to get out some of those pent up feelings of frustration, anxiety, and sadness. It’s a physical way to deal with emotions.
Play be silly…those are the moments your kids will remember.
Here are a few of my favorite playful tips:
Sing like and opera singer
Have a dance party
Have a trunk picnic
Games for Connection and Emotional Intelligence
Life with little kids doesn’t have to be difficult. When we take the time to slow down, connect, play and love, life can be down right enjoyable….most of the time.
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This is such a great list of tips – if I could remember to put these into action every day with my kiddos, you’re right…it would be a happier life! Thanks so much for the great reminders and for sharing our Roughhousing post with your readers!
What a great reminder. Let it go and slow down are two things I’m really working on and I’ve found my house so much calmer and kids are happier. My house might be messy and laundry is overflowing but we are so better, I feel more connected to them. Thank you.
Theres Just One Mommy
I need to make sure there is more Mommy and daughter time — because that definitely helps here when the oldest is in a fighting mood! Also need to work on letting the small stuff go. I have a bad habit of nit-picking (pretty sure I get that from my own upbringing).
What a fantastic reminder of how to be HAPPIER parents which is very different from BETTER parents. Because happier leads to better every time.
Thank you – I started to let most of these slip lately and it shows in my kids 🙁 Reining in our family starting first thing in the mooring! 🙂
very simply yet not so easy to do sometimes! Very encouraging post. Thank you!!
These are great reminders! I’m fairly new to the blogosphere but have been following yours for a bit and think you have some great advice. We have a one year old boy so I foresee much dirt and boogers in my future. 🙂
Thanks for sharing. 🙂 What a lovely post Amanda!
You’re welcome and thank you!