Something that has really helped me cultivate good behavior and prevent any tempter tantrums is taking the time to explain what the day holds. It seems so obvious, but so often, in the busyness of getting everyone ready for the day, or into the car, we forget to let our children know where we are going, and what they can expect.
If there are times that can be stressful or there is certain behavior expectations that we are trying to work on, this is even more important.
To say, “Today we are going to go to church. We are going to walk in, and sit down and we have to be very very quiet, only little whispers. We might hear babies cry, or the bells or the piano and we have to listen for those. Remember we have to sit still and be quiet.”
“After the soccer game, we are going to go to the birthday party, and after we eat the cake, we are going to get in the car and come home.”
Or let’s say that you know getting into the car, or mealtime, or a very specific situation can illicit tears, or attempts to control which can lead to frustration for both them and us:
Before we walk out the door-“When we get into the car, you can climb into the car seat yourself right away, and then mommy is going to do the buckles. Remember I am going to do the buckles, you are going to hop in.”
It gives them some control, and correct expectations, so they don’t feel yanked here and there, completely at our whim. Of course it is no guarantee of behavior for sure, but hearing before hand what will happen and what they must do, paints the correct picture in their head. Often, besides the adhering to the best advice ever (don’t ever let them get hungry and tired), I think breakdowns can occur because what was planned or imagined in their heads, is not what is happening in real life. If we can paint that correct picture that matches up with ours, we give the best chance for peace and harmony.