Posted tagged ‘childcare’

7 ways to stop a tantrum

January 19, 2017

What can you do to when your child has a tantrum? For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see

Reward good behaviour, ignore the bad. Here's the famous thumbs up in Trafalgar Square by David Shrigley to remind you of that maxim. (c) homemade kids

Reward good behaviour, ignore the bad. Here’s the famous thumbs up in Trafalgar Square by David Shrigley to remind you of that maxim. (c) homemade kids

My daughters are definitely too old to be having tantrums – they are 15 and 18. But recently I spent a couple of nights in a house with two primary school aged children and realised how much I’d forgotten about negotiating with little kids. How do you get them to go to bed? How do you get them to get up? How do you get them to get dressed? Or eat breakfast? And how do you do all that so you can arrive at their classroom without being late?

Anyone who manages this, regularly, even if not every day deserves a medal. Or should be volunteering to sort out Theresa May’s Brexit problems.

Tips and tricks
But when you are in the midst of dealing with little kids then there are some techniques that can help make life a little less tricky.

Your child has switched from super happy to impossible. They are lying on the pavement refusing to move… What next:

  1. Try asking them to get up… (only once. It might work)
  2. Avoid raising the stakes. Pinch yourself to prevent this happening. If you end up saying “if you don’t get up I’ll never buy you sweets again,” they’ll know there is NO way you are going to keep your threat. If you are like me you tend to use threats that were things you were actually looking forward to doing, like going to the park or feeding a friend’s pet rabbit.
  3. Never threaten because this is a toddler tantrum. You need to rethink fast…
  4. Try humour. I can’t carry you because “I’ve got a bone in my leg” is baffling and funny (for a young child). Will it work?
  5. Try distraction. Look there’s (name a friend) let’s go and see what’s in their lunch box/book bag/ whatever springs to mind.
  6. Try better distraction. “Oh my word, there goes a blue unicorn down the high street…”
  7. Deal with it. OK nothing has worked. Your tot is definitely embarassing you. Don’t worry, everyone who has a had a child has been in this situation. And so they should. Either wait until s/he’s bored or exhausted by this behaviour and then without making it into a big deal walk on. The school door is waiting.
Tantrums don't last - but reacting the wrong way to them can make managing small children much harder. (c) homemade kids

Tantrums don’t last – but reacting the wrong way to them can make managing small children much harder. (c) homemade kids

On reflection
Figure out what might be the problem. It won’t be obvious – maybe it’s just that your child is tired, hungry or doesn’t want to be parted from you. In our family we used this phrase “Are you struggling with your big girl self?” far too much (and just occasionally I even wheel it out now). The kids grew to hate it, but I think it helped them recognise when their emotions were taking over.

If it’s simply that your child has no power and wants attention then aim to do more rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad. It may seem impossible, but every fight lost is going to make the next stress point slightly harder.

Good luck, do you have any tips or tantrum stories?


I want to go out!

November 10, 2010

Actually I go out a lot by day – with my girls. But sometimes it would be great to pretend to be an adult again and go out in unsuitable clothes of an evening, and without a handbag of dried fruit, rice cakes, water etc. And I bet you think so too. This post is by Nicola Baird from ideas adapted in her new book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children.

The obvious solution is to use your network of friends and family to share looking after each other’s children. Both Pete and I each have a sister living in the same city as us – neither of whom have ever babysat(!). When the girls were little my mum was very ill dealing with cancer and horrible cancer treatments, and their other grandparents were really too old to manage. So what did we do? Well, we found a way to go out which helped other families but didn’t even involve seeing their children. 

How? Let me introduce you to the babysitting circle.  This is a informal group of local families who swap contact details once joined up as a babysitting circle. Then if they want to go out they pay for the time someone else babysits in their house (often on a comfy sofa, in a warm room that no one expects you to tidy!) earning tokens that can be swapped for the times you want to go out.

Your float
In our group we use laminated, hand-drawn tokens. Everyone starts with 18. And a typical night of babysitting – say three hours on a thursday night will earn you six tokens. So you start with three free evenings of babysitting. Of course you do have to rely on the good will of its members being prepared to “sit” for about the same number of evenings as you need a “sitter”. For us that’s one night a fortnight babysitting, and one night a fortnight out on the town.

Money or your life?
Recently I’ve had to take on the coordinating of our babysitting circle and in order to relaunch it have had to deal with what I think of as huge economic questions. For instance – should everyone be given a “grant” of extra tokens so those who want to can stay out for longer? Should the members be CRB checked? Should I print more money (that’s quantitive easing!) so we can bring in some extra new members? I really like the for way a simple bit of babysitting introduces you to fascinating life lessons.

If you want to set up your own do have a look at Homemade Kids on page 185 (actually it’s useful from p 181). But also if you’ve got any tips, troubleshooting, or other canny ways to help mums and dads go out sometimes pls share them here in the comments section.Thank you. Nicola

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