Take a second to imagine this: You and your kiddos are walking through Target to grab a few things. You generally try to avoid the toy aisles because you don’t want to get distracted, but then it happens. Your daughter sees the new limited edition doll and she starts begging you to buy it, but you have to say, “not right now.” This leads to a tantrum. Now you’re upset because she won’t stop, people are staring and you are doing everything in your power to hold it together until you can get back to the car and go home. Sound familiar?
Kids expectations are a big part of their tantrums. They are given an idea of what they want through catalogs, stores, etc. and when they don’t get it, they get upset.
It can be emotionally difficult for parents to navigate the holiday season. We have some tips to help with the emotions in both you and your kids.
- Identify the trigger: When you are in one of those high-stress moments, take a second to identify what triggered your child’s emotions. Was it not getting his or her way? Was it when you told them “no?” Next, identify what triggered your emotions. Was it when your child started crying in public?
- Create a detour: What is the ideal behavior I want to exhibit? How can I get on my child’s level, validate their feelings and show them an alternative? Instead of getting angry and raising your voice, take a deep breath and focus on keeping your tone calm.
- Rehearse: We are very familiar with practicing when it comes to sports and music, but it applies to emotions too. When you regularly practice identifying your trigger, staying calm and creating your detour, you are better prepared for when that high-stress situation strikes. Prepare for the public situations when you are at home and your child is acting up.
- CELEBRATE: Celebrate the fact that you accomplished this victory as a parent and celebrate your child’s victory too. Give yourself a high-five when you handle the situation like you practiced. When your kids overcome the challenge, celebrate with them! Kids strive to make their parents proud and receive praise so when you celebrate their victory of overcoming the challenge of emotions, make it a big deal, because it is.
Remember, this takes practice and it’s especially hard for kids to navigate their emotions during the holidays. They are flooded with commercials and catalogues that set their expectations high which is what leads to the disappointment. So, get on their level, feel their feelings and celebrate their victories. You got this!