I admit to feeling like I had a play deficit when my children were little. So much so that I used to make myself feel pretty guilty because as an early childhood educator I felt like I should be better at ‘PLAY’. What I discovered is that I just play differently. And guess what. So do you!
We all play differently. I found that I like play that is active or has action. Others like to play board and/or card games that are more quiet. While still others enjoy the make believe and dress up adventures. There is no right or wrong way to play. There is just play. Pure and simple. Play. Play is face to face with the children in your life. Engaging their mind and body while creating strong relationships. Back and forth communication. I guess my message really is don’t over analyze how you play or if you play is good enough or right enough.
Pat yourself on the back, give yourself credit and tell me how you like to play with the children in your life.
education, family time, friendship, grandparenting, language development, Play, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, temperament
Guest Blogger- Family Life Intern Mackenzie K.
As Donna and the podcast suggested, anger is natural for children. There are countless issues that may cause a child to feel angry: not getting their way, frustration over things that are hard, learning difficulties, family problems, or friendship issues.
Often times we want to tell our children that they should not be angry. Their anger sometimes seems irrational and unjustified to us as parents. In reality, the emotion of anger is not the problem; it is how they handle that anger.
So allow your child to feel angry. We all know how hard it is to try to change your emotions. Help your child identify their feeling as anger. Saying and labeling the emotion like this may be helpful, “You are angry because I won’t let you eat candy before supper” or “I can tell that when you don’t make the circle perfect it makes you frustrated”.
Now that they can recognize their anger, they can learn how to address it. There are some great strategies and tips to try when helping your child learn to handle their anger in the article below:
Helping Children with Anger
Does anyone have any experience using these techniques? What has worked best for you and your child?
discipline, education, family time, friendship, language development, overindulgence, positive parenting, raising teens, school, social-emotional, spanking, temperament
Yep, we all get mad! Infants, toddlers, elementary kids, middle schoolers, high schoolers, college kids, young adults, the middle aged and the aging. We ALL get MAD! So if we all get mad then why sometimes do we let others people anger confound and confuse us so much?
Understanding how my own emotions impact my behavior was a huge part of me being able to understand why my children get angry and how they show it in their behaviors. I realized that my emotions created my behaviors and my children were reacting to those behaviors. Think of it like a circle - Behavior, Reaction, Behavior, Reaction and so on and so on. As the adult we have to figure out how to make the behaviors and reactions less intense and emotion filled. Easier said than done right? That’s where our blog begins. Join us and help us start the discussion.
Here are some of my favorite temperament places. Parent Child Help – Mary Sheedy Kurcinka , Behavioral-Development Initiatives and Preventive Ounce
discipline, positive parenting, social-emotional, temperament
Guest Blogger – Family Life Intern Mackenzie K
You are at the grocery store and just about done with your shopping. It’s been a pretty pleasant trip, but then you round the last aisle. Your child sprints toward the Fruity Pebbles. “Please please please”. You respond, “No, we aren’t going to get those this time”. And it begins: the kicking feet, flailing arms, and high-pitched screaming. You are the victim of another grocery store tantrum via Fruity Pebbles or Death.
When it happens to you as the parent, it makes you feel embarrassed, and (let’s be real) frustrated with your child. You just wanted a quick simple trip to the store, and now you have a screaming child drawing a lot of unwanted attention to you.
So how do we address the problem of our screaming child? Some of us may want to spank or threaten. Some of us may want give in to the child’s request in order to stop the fit. Some of us may yell back. Some of us may simply walk away.
According to researchers at Zero to Three, the keyto this scenario is staying calm rather than losing it. Don’t let your anger get the best of you. Also, make sure to validate your child’s feelings. They really do feel frustrated! There are some great tips and techniques to try in the article below:
Zero to Three: When he doesn’t get his way
Have you used any of the techniques in the article before? How has it gone for you?
discipline, family time, overindulgence, positive parenting, social-emotional, spanking, temperament
Should parents spank their children? This month that’s our topic~ yes we really are gonna talk about spanking and alternative ways to discipline children.
Listen to the podcast, check out the links and then join us for great discussion!
Research Based links http://humansciences.okstate.edu/facultystaff/Larzelere/
Podcast: Play in new window
corporal punishment, discipline, podcast, positive parenting, social-emotional, spanking, temperament
As I read the information on friendships I thought about writing about children – because that’s what the blog is about right? But the last part of the podcast really struck me. Where do children learn about friendships? From the adults role-modeling around them. My children are learning about friends from me and I learned from my parents.
So I spent that last several days listening and watching what my children see me say and do around and with my friends. Then I spent some time watching my children with their friends. Yep, sure enough it looked similar.
I want to repeat the 3 bullets from the podcast -
- provide emotional support
- teach acceptable behavior
- teach important attitudes
So I sit here pondering are there things I want my children to learn about friends from their friends? Are their things I want my children to learn about friends from me? Yes and YES. And I want the strongest most important lessons to come from me! So it will be up to me to model about friends to them. Hmmmm Why do these blogs always turn into something I need to do?
Share your thoughts with me on how you have modeled about friendships to your children.
education, family time, friendship, positive parenting, social-emotional, temperament
As I thought about children and sports this month I want to share something I overheard.
A young child was working on a new physically challenging skill. He was working and working and working so very hard. Finally SUCCESS!!! HE DID IT! He was so proud I swear he grew 4 inches right in front of my eyes! “I did it I tried my best and I did it!”
The older sibling overheard the exclamations of joy and in a grown up voice replied “It’s never our BEST, there is always room for improvement”.
SILENCE…….. DEFLATION……… end of working on skill.
Isn’t there a time when we really have done it ‘good enough’ to celebrate? Can’t we just stop and celebrate the moment and say “We did our best and we succeeded!” As we continue with children and sports this month, think about really allowing your child to celebrate the moment of their own personal success.
We ALL have to start somewhere and not all of us are going to be Olympians. Besides – without those of us having OUR OWN personal best, their would never be Olympians who we encouraged to be their best.
How have you celebrated personal bests with your child?
bullying, education, family time, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, sports, temperament
This is an exciting time at Science of Parenting!
We have a question for you! What if we offered you opportunities for additional information on your favorite topics?
Come with me to my brain … envision this…
The kids have settled down and gone to bed. You have your comfy slippers on your feet and your favorite chair is ready!
You grab the computer or whatever technology is closest and join us ‘after hours’ for an online conversation on the monthly Science of Parenting topic.
Recently we tested the idea. “Taming the Tiger Within” was held at 8:30pm on a Tuesday night for about 50 minutes. We shared ideas on how to tame those tantrums and your feet were up on your own recliner! It seemed like there were no bugs hiding out in our system so we are going to offer it again.
Tuesday, May 22nd 8:30pm.
Watch for log on details soon!
Join us and learn how to tame your tiger! Invite your friends to subscribe to the blog and you can all join us with your slippers on!
What topics would you like to see offered as an evening webinar?
education, positive parenting, social-emotional, temperament
Do you remember a time when your child pitched a fit in the grocery store? It’s one thing to handle a temper tantrum at home. But when it’s in public – like at the grocery store with everyone watching – that’s enough to test everything you know. Some people may give you that “why don’t you do something with your kid” look while others shoot you a sympathizing “I’ve been there” look. Either way you are probably embarrassed or frustrated or tired or just ready to throw up your hands.
We are most apt to have shopping disasters when we make those stops at the grocery store at the end of a busy day. Are you and your child too tired or hungry to shop? If so, a major tantrum is a high possibility. Children usually behave better when everyone is more relaxed and happy so plan the best time for the shopping trip. Be clear about expectations before you go in the store – stay in the cart, hold my hand, use indoor voice. Also decide together what will happen if your child behaves at the store. Keep it simple. Perhaps you stop for an ice cream cone on the way home or promise to play a favorite game when you get home.
Once you’re in the store, make a game of the shopping. Or give your child some choices (this or that cereal, red or yellow apples). Give him a responsibility like holding the bread or steering the cart. Praise him often to reinforce good behavior. “You are really helping Mommy by putting the cans in the cart.”
Okay, so even though we’ve done all the planning and talking, we can still end up with an out-of-control child. If that happens, take her to the restroom or out of the store away from other people and distractions. Tell her that her behavior is not acceptable and then wait – wait for her to calm down. If she is ready to try it again, go for it. If not, go home. And don’t go back in and buy her a treat where she just pitched a fit!!
What do you do when your child throws a tantrum in the grocery store? Any tips on calming down both parent and child?
positive parenting, temperament
Sitting on my deck in the sun…listening to the neighborhood children running through the water puddles left by the melting snow. The sounds of their loud and intense squeals of laughter remind me that several of these kiddos are champion tantrum throwers as well. The emotions are just as strong when they are happy as when they are angry. Like Donna said last months temperament topic goes right along with this month’s temper tantrums topic.
In the heat of a good tantrum it’s so important to think about the cause behind the emotions. Getting wrapped up and wound up in the emotions along with the child will be like throwing gas on a fire. Finding a way to remain calm both physically and emotionally can help the child deescalate as well. What was the initial cause of the very first emotion? Was it frustration? Was it hurt? Was it fear? The intensity of the tantrum is the secondary emotion – something triggered.
We have to play Sherlock Holmes…. What was going on prior to the tantrum? Where was the child? Who was in the vicinity? When did the emotions start to show themselves? Take a breath and see if you can find the clues before responding.
What were some clues you discovered when you search for reason behind your child’s tantrum?
education, language development, positive parenting, social-emotional, temperament
And I want it my way. As an adult I can use words to communicate feelings. But try to remember what it is like to be a small child. Most toddlers still don’t talk too much or know how to express feelings. They aren’t very good at solving problems either. So when you think about it, having a tantrum almost makes sense. During the podcast the guys talked about the two emotions that are central to tantrums – anger and sadness. I found it interesting that anger peaks about 1/3 of the way through the tantrum and then declines while sadness remains a constant steady background. I also tuned in to the conversation about how temperament figures into kids and tantrums. Do you see how last month’s podcast and this one tie together?
When a child gets angry it is soooo easy to respond with anger. In fact we were told that was a natural reaction. We were also warned about the anger trap. If everyone gets angry, then things can escalate and nothing gets resolved. Staying calm and in control of your own emotions is important. So is pausing for a few seconds before you respond. Doesn’t sound like too much to ask, but in the midst of a major meltdown it can be difficult. If you can remain calm and reasonably collected, you will be showing your child how to handle frustration and you will also have a better chance of figuring out the best way to deal with the tantrum.
The Temper tantrums publication suggest four possible ways to deal with a tantrum. Some are more suitable to different aged children. Check it out. Do you have a tantrum thrower in your family? What do you find helps dissolve the anger and comfort the child?
When children throw tantrums, which comes first: the screaming or the crying? Michael Potegal knows — and has the video evidence to prove it. The University of Minnesota researcher talks about his video study of tantrums in this month’s Science of Parenting podcast.
ISU Extension publications
Learn more about Michael Potegal and his research.
Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
Additional links to be posted with the news release
Podcast: Play in new window
I’m a fairly mild mannered girl. It takes quite a bit to rile me up and get me excited, agitated or angry. I’m certainly not saying I can’t get there. I just run at a slower boiling point than some. However, I think that some of my favorite people and kiddos are those that boil quickly and intensely. I’m not sure what it is about them. Maybe I long for their zest and intensity for both hot and cold/high and low. I love being around them and love working with them.
As parents, it’s important to recognize what your own boiling point is before you can help lower your child’s. Children watch us control ourselves in order to determine how to control themselves. I tell parents that if they can first recognize and conquer their own intense temperaments -or lower their own boiling point first – then they will be better equipped to help their child lower his/her boiling point.
Do you get physically hot when you are angry? Does the red creep up your neck? Do you talk faster, high pitched or louder? Think about what happens to you as you begin to boil. Then try a few of the following steps – these steps are exactly what you would show/teach your child as well.
- Deep breathe
- Relax your neck, shoulders and jaw (on purpose!)
- Turn away from what it is that is frustrating you – or close your eyes for a moment so you can’t see it.
- Swallow or suck (This is a natural movement that has been around since you were born. Get a drink of water, suck on a candy or pop in some gum!)
- Sway (Yes really! Again a natural movement that was there when you were born. We all sway when see a baby rocking, try it! You may find it soothing!)
What other signs show you that your child is about to boil over?
What things do you do to try to lower that boiling point?
education, positive parenting, social-emotional, temperament
Last night I went to bed late and woke up early, refreshed. Another night I may go to bed at a decent time and still have trouble dragging myself out of bed. Sound familiar? And I do know the importance of a regular sleep routine. I feel better and function better when I have enough sleep.
We adults can manage some deviation from getting enough sleep. But it is not realistic to expect that kids can do the same. When I listened to the podcast, I really zoned in on the conversastion about how the spirited kids suffer more from not getting enough sleep. Then I add to that the hectic schedules many families keep, plus the availability of tech devices in kids’ bedrooms, and OH MY!
Remember how excited you were as a parent when your baby starting sleeping through the night? Then later on when your little one starts fighting the naps, it seems like we can easily forget how important sleep is for her. It’s easy enough to find out how many hours of sleep children need each night. Check out the Children and Sleep publication mentioned on the main page this month. As a good rule of thumb, choose a bedtime that is about 10-12 hours before your child needs to get up. Then stick with it. Even if your child doesn’t fall right to sleep, at least he is resting.
And just one more thought – don’t have lots of exciting and interesting things going on in the house when it is bedtime. No one wants to miss out. So turn off the TV and computer, put on your pjs, and bring the day to a quiet close. Raising a spirited child can be a challenge. So why add to everyone’s stress level by operating on too little sleep. That is one aspect you, as the parent, can control.
Now about that nap …..
positive parenting, temperament