You trip over a shoe in the middle of the hallway, you step on a matchbox car and you see yet another shirt lying on the floor in their room. You try not to yell, because you are trying to be more patient with your kids.
Didn’t you already ask them to clean their room… twice? Yet it is still a mess? It can be easy to lose your temper with your kids when things like this happen. I get it. After all… I’m a mom, too.
Yelling, arguing, angry looks … all things that happen when we lose our patience. It isn’t the way that I want my children to remember me or the way that I want them to parent their own children one day.
Today we are talking about how to be more patient with our kids:
- Treat your family like houseguests and you will see them start to do the same for you. Would you yell at a houseguest for leaving their shoes out? Would you say “HURRY UP!” if you were running late? Try treating your kids like houseguests just this week. If you get a drink or snack, offer one to your family, etc.. This will keep the peace and everyone will be more likely to get along. Soon they will do the same for you.
- Get enough rest. Just like a child that is crabby at night, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you will be crabby, too. Try getting 7 hours of sleep tonight and see what a difference it makes. (Maybe even aim for 8 hours!)
- Don’t argue with your children. If you are frustrated, they will become frustrated, which will lead to an unhelpful argument. Be firm, but fair. Make a rule and stick to it and there will be no arguing necessary because it won’t get them anywhere. Instead, try being empathetic towards them when they realize that they are not going to get what they want.
- Be prepared. The root of my impatient behavior is always the same: I am unprepared. If I am unprepared when dinner time rolls around, the kids will be cranky (because they are hungry) and I will end up losing my temper. If I am unprepared before bed with lunches packed for the next school day, we will have a hectic morning, kids will be late to school and I will end up losing my temper. Being prepared stops this.
- Drink more water and eat better. Yes, it is true. You are what you eat. If you don’t drink water, you aren’t going to be as happy. I have seen it in my friends and family.
- Exercise. Seriously. Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happier.
- Take a break. After you lose your temper or are upset, it can take a full half of an hour to calm back down. Have your whole family spend time reading or playing in their bedrooms for 30 minutes until everyone feels better again (happier).
- Remember that your kids are watching you. Why is it that we are the more patient parent when we are out, yet we forget to be this way when we are at home? Our kids are watching us when we are home and they are the ones that will learn from us. Let us remember to be the BEST example of patience when we are home.
- Realize where the problem lies. The other day I was upset with my husband for something (I can’t even remember now), but at that same time, our 3 year old came over to me, in a very whiny voice, and said “I want oatmeal.” I snapped back at her “When you can talk to me like a big girl, I will help you.” It wasn’t what I said, but how I said it. Her face said it all when her pouty lip came out and her sad eyes filled with tears. I wanted to cry with her. I wasn’t upset with her, but she was the one that had to deal with my attitude. (this point leads me to the next one)
- Apologize when you are wrong. I immediately apologized to her. “I’m sorry. Mommy was wrong to talk that way to you. I was not upset with you and I shouldn’t have done that. I apologize. Do you still want oatmeal? If you do, please ask me in a big girl voice and I will help you.” She forgave me and ate her strawberry oatmeal happily.
- Try talking in a whisper, instead of yelling. It works wonders.
- Try to see if your child is acting the way that YOU act. When a problem arises, how does your child handle it? If he is acting like you, see it for what it is and fix it. If you are not being the best you that you can be, do better.
- Compliment each other. I learned this years ago and it works. Give out compliments. It may be hard at first, but everyone will be happier. Give them to your kids and your spouse. Have your family give them to each other. Try it at dinner first – everyone gives out two to each family member. It makes a huge difference in everyone’s attitudes.
- Give yourself grace and time to change. If you have been someone that loses their patience easily, give yourself time to break from this habit. Forgive yourself for whatever it is that you did that day (lost your temper, yelled, grounded the kids for a few minutes too long) and do better tomorrow.We can’t all be perfect all of the time. We will lose our patience at some point, but we can work on doing better.
When we know better, we do better.
Remind yourself to calm down when you start to lose your patience and open your eyes to look at the beautiful children in front of you, watching your every move. Be the best example of a kind, patient person that you can be. In the meantime, stop over to our Facebook page for more parenting tips!