👩‍👦"Gain Calmness w/Kid's Tantrum"

(5 Minute Read) Can we admit staying calm is the hardest thing of parenting 😅

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“Come on, sweetie! We’ve got to get into the car to make it to Joey’s birthday. We’re going to be late.”

“NOOOOO! I want more playtime!” In rolls in the dreaded toddler tamtrum. Full-blown screaming, kicking, hitting and crying. You immediately feel your heart start racing, the heat building up into your chest and neck. You have two choices here, two choices that are going to determine how the tone of the rest of the day goes.

Choice A: You can react big, match the energy of your toddler, put down your foot and strap your toddler in the car. Your toddler will scream the entirety of the ride, fall asleep about 5 minutes from the party, and wake up a complete mess.

Choice B: You can utilize your tools and remain emotionally constant, model emotional regulation and co-regulate with your kiddo. You end up about 15 minutes late to the party, but your toddler is happy and you both enjoy the time about. But before we continue this conversation, go support the sponsor we love today, here’s a quick ad for them.

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Let's opt for choice B 😅. Emotional constancy involves being emotionally consistent and predictable in how you manage your heightened emotional states, as well as in how you support your child during those moments.

Neuroscience shows that being in a heightened emotional state often puts your brain into survival mode. This mode triggers the fight or flight. However, when supporting our children with regulation, being in a survival state isn't ideal. Instead, we aim to be in a state that allows us to make smart choices and well-planned decisions.

Remember to model for your child. If you're not demonstrating the behaviors you expect from them and showing them how it's done, how will they learn? Lead by example. Every moment with your child presents a teaching opportunity. Whenever you utilize a strategy, practice, or model behavior, you're exposing them to that process. Your child learns by observing and mimicking.

Achieving emotional constancy for your child requires some preliminary self-reflection. It's important to recognize your own triggers and understand what leads you to experience heightened emotions. Once you've identified your triggers, take a moment to explore the narratives you create about the behaviors or reactions that set you off. Keep in mind that it's not about your child's actions causing your emotions, but rather the stories you tell yourself in response to those actions.

I asked my partner to put away their clothes. I left the laundry basket on their side of the bed, and for two days, the basket gets moved to the floor and then right back on the bed. It’s starting to cause some tension because the story I’m telling myself is, “They don’t respect me as a partner.” or “They don’t listen to me. They don’t hear me, right?” It’s the story that I’m telling myself about that trigger that is causing this internal heightened emotional state.

You might be wondering, “Ok, now what? How do I show up emotionally constant?” There are a few areas I focus on when I need to remain emotionally constant, especially when I feel myself getting triggered by my toddler's emotionally heightened state.

*Please give a gentle round of applause too…*

This is Parenting

By: Leslie Hannans

This is Parenting: Demystifying parenthood is a fresh, new take on an old tradition, Parenting! For centuries, parents have engaged in a long tradition of parenting, based on how we learned. But, have we questioned our parenting techniques? Have we thought critically about what our actions can do to harm our children? This is exactly what This Is Parenting explores. We will dive into behavior modification, origins of modern parenting, skill acquisition, and more!

Start by taking a deep breath to calm down and model composure. Connect with your child by meeting them at their eye level, reinforcing your presence and empathy during emotional peaks. After centering yourself, gently prompt your child's focus with phrases like "Let's focus together" or "I'm here, let's talk," setting the stage for mutual regulation. Communicate with a gentle, measured tone to avoid escalating emotions, offering your calmness as a grounding anchor. Incorporate pauses in your dialogue to allow your child the space to process your words, aiding their language development and ensuring they comprehend and internalize your guidance during these moments of joint regulation.

Your child is learning from you, absorbing what you're doing. They are seeing and observing how you're acting, how you behave day in and day out. When you remain emotionally constant or emotionally consistent, and you model emotional consistency for your child, you are laying the foundational groundwork for self-regulation and emotional intelligence.

I'm Alyssa Conti Hampton, a proud toddler mom, seasoned behavior analyst, and special educator based in the heart of Washington DC. For nearly two decades, I've waded through the turbulent waters of tricky behavior in all its shapes and sizes. I’ve supported students and their families in working through behavioral challenges both inside and outside of school. Whether you’re facing challenges or simply seeking advice, I’m all ears! Let’s connect, share, and support each other through this incredible journey called parenthood.  Head on over to my site!


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