Never underestimate the power of...
- a hug. In the midst of tantrums big and small, sometimes all your kiddo needs is some tender-loving care. I know sometimes I find it hard to see around my own frustration at the situation to offer one, but sometimes it's just what's needed. On the other hand, it may be what the parent needs more!
- a game. As creative a person as I think I am, I sometimes struggle with making a game out of a chore. But, when I do, it makes a world of difference. The chore gets done faster, with more laughs and pleasure, which makes everyone happier.
- "Handy". What, might you ask, is Handy? Handy is a being created by my father-in-law for his kiddos more than 30 years ago. Do this: hold your hand as if you are doing a sock puppet. That is Handy. Handy can talk, sing, jump, dance, eat, drink, tease, tickle, etc. Why, you might ask, would this be handy to have? Things that I would ask my girls to do might be met with a resounding "no!", but if Handy asks, wellllll... of course they will. Drawing on the game idea, if Handy asks, it becomes a game. I love Handy and have relied on him heavily with Maggie. Every night she wants to "play Handy" in bed. She has two "baby Handys" and I have two "sister" Handys. Lila went through a similar stage where she could be easily convinced by her puppet "Racoony".
- a snack. In the midst of Lila's most violent melt-downs I have discovered that all she often needs is a snack. It's finally hitting me that the cause of most of such melt-downs is low blood sugar. I am amazed at how her outburst is squelched just moments after getting something good to eat.
- incentives. I suppose some might call this bribery, but if it keeps panties from being peed in, I'm all for it! I often use this when one child is doing the right thing. I will say "gosh, Lila, thanks for bringing your plate to the counter just like I asked! Have a chocolate chip!" Boy, the other child tends to hop to. These tiny tokens can make a world of difference! Mutiny threatened while loading the car? "Don't you want your m&m?"
- a positive attitude. How much of our children's attitudes is directly linked to our attitudes? Um... like a lot. When I am conscience about pointing out the good things my kids are doing, smiling a lot, and trying hard to have a good time, 9 times out of 10, they pick up on that and mimic it.
- a change. Last year, picking out clothes and getting dressed for Lila was a fight every morning. I kept expecting something to change and then realized I was living the definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results. We started picking out clothes the night before and for some reason, it made all the difference in the world! It was like magic! In the same vein, however, Lila often resists change, so you have to be careful.
- a change of scenery. When the girls were wee babes, sometimes there was just nothing that could calm them down. That is, until we went outside. There are times when kids, and parents too, just need a change in scenery! Whether it's outside, to the library, whatever! It improves everyone's mood in my experience.