Toddlers and young children are full to the brim with life and cheeky smiles. They’ve grown from babies into walking, talking little wonders and all of a sudden they have opinions and emotions which they like to express, sometimes (all the time?) at full volume.
There are times when even the most patient parent can find it challenging to remain cool, calm and collected. Whether it’s having to ask the same question 12 times (“can you please clean your teeth?”), being asked the same question 43 times (“can I have a lolly?”) or negotiating a tantrum, it’s sometimes hard to stay composed.
But it most certainly can be done. Here are 11 ways to reduce frustration and restore your patience once it’s a little bit frayed!
“I’m patient now. Other times? Not so much…”
It helps to work out which situations test your patience. Maybe it’s trying to get everybody out the door in the morning or perhaps it’s when you stagger in that same door after a long day.
Once you know your impatience triggers, you can work out ways to prevent frustration and start (or end) the day feeling serene.
It’s time to plan
Time pressure is a common test of parents’ patience, especially when you’re running late for playgroup/school/work/[insert event here] and your kiddo is moving at the speed of a three-toed sloth.
To win the battle against the clock, it helps to plan ahead and factor in extra time where humanly possible. Things like a morning routine chart (like this one from the Crafting Chicks) will work wonders for older kids.
Have a seat
We’re also more likely to lose our composure when we’re hungry, thirsty or haven’t gone to the loo since breakfast. So make sure you take the time to sit down for a snack, a big glass of water or a long-overdue toilet break.
And if you need to ‘reset’ before picking your squidlet up, then sit in the car for a moment, thinking about not much.
Sometimes we’re so busy looking after our little ones, that we forget to look after ourselves. It’s important to nurture yourself (and your relationship), so make time to do things that make you feel happy and calm.
Whether it’s a sleep-in, exercise or having a date night, you’ll feel more patient as a parent if you’re refreshed as a person.
“Help! My patience is wearing (very) thin!”
Of course, these preventative measures may not guarantee your patience 24/7. Sometimes the best-laid plans come unstuck or your kid just isn’t in the mood to play ball. This is the time take a deep breath (literally) and try some things to reclaim your composure.
1, 2, 3, breathe!
When the going gets tough, take some long, deep breaths while counting to 10. Slowly breathing in and out is a great way to reset yourself, and if your kiddo joins in, they’ll feel calmer too.
The right response
When you feel you’re losing your patience, try to respond to the situation, rather than react. So, instead of saying, “stop screaming RIGHT NOW!” take a deep breath (yep, another one) and say, “do you need a cuddle?” Chances are, your calm response will translate to a calmer kiddo, and you’ll both feel good inside. (via www.imperfectfamilies.com)
“It is what it is” and “I got this” are just two mantras that can ease a parent’s mind. Many mums vouch for the calming power of mantras, just chant one to yourself and feel your impatience wash away. Fingers crossed! (via Abundant Mama)
Step into their shoes
If your tot is testing your patience, there may be a reason for their behaviour. For instance, if you’re having a mum-toddler battle over getting dressed, it might be a sign that they want more independence to choose an eclectic ensemble!
Or if your preschooler is whiny or clingy, it might mean they just want more attention from you. (via Today’s Parent)
See the world from their eyes too (un-rushed and full of wonder) and try not to sweat the small stuff, like stopping to collect pebbles instead of running for the bus!
Calm things down
If you’re both feeling frazzled, it can help to step away from the situation and collect yourselves. If this means you take a minute to read a few passages from The Little Book of Calm, while your tyke clutches their calm down jar, then so be it! (calm down jar via Gift of Curiosity)
It’s always good to remember that tantrums (if it comes to that) are a normal part of brain development in young kids. It’s how they express feelings, like anger and frustration, and it’s our job as parents to support them after a tantrum. Hugs all round! (via Better Health Victoria)
“Patience lost! What now?”
If you do lose your patience, try not to think of it as a failure. We’re all human and it’s best to focus on how you’ll deal with the situation next time. Think positive and patience will come to those who… practise it!