Posted tagged ‘kind parenting’

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?


Five ways to support teens during exams

March 4, 2013

How can you support teens during exam months? It’s as much about helping them learn and revise as it is showing them ways to enjoy downtime that don’t always involve trips to the shops or 241 cinema. For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children see, or

The healing pleasures of making a cuppa over a fire - just like in Lord of the Rings (though Bilbo might have been a bit quicker!).

The healing pleasures of making a cuppa over a fire – just like in Lord of the Rings (we reckoned that Bilbo might have been a bit more expert at campfire cooking).

Thinking back to my teen years I was a super-stressed teen. I specialised in not eating, answering my parents back, shouting and feeling unloved. Home was awful; school wasn’t great.

Roll on 30 years and I’m setting assignments for uni students (mostly 18 to 19 year olds) so potentially causing nightmares for a few of this age group. But as we rush into spring 2013 even the youngest teenagers are well aware that it also brings the season of controlled assessments plus old-fashioned exams. It’s a lot of stress for any teen to handle. For instance, my oldest daughter, Lola is 14 and in Year 10 but she’s got two GCSE assessments this week alone. Last week was a music exam. Sunday was a running race.

As I can’t justify not taking these exams – I’m trying to find as many ways of taking the pressure off Lola’s over-examined, stressed-out brain when she’s at home.

When Lola’s not around friends her  favourite downtime is to wrap herself in blankets and sit on the sofa, with the dog beside her, while she focuses simulatenously on the laptop and WhatsApp messages on her phone. That’s OK for a quick relax after school, but it’s not going to add to her happiness memory bank – and it’s not really giving her brain a rest either.

Here are five ideas for how to help your teens when they enter exam months.

  1. Cut teens a lot of slack – especially over tidy rooms, helping around the house and if they’re grumpy. Be nice and see how soon it takes for teens to be nice back (even if it is several years… – this is where adults have to be model adults). Be horrible or shout back and the feisty ones will answer back at once. Others will simmer resentfully taking their stress levels up to crazy heights.
  2. Give teens some responsible roles How about babysitting, a request to do your hair or nails, a mission that involves navigating across town/out of town
  3. Surprise your teen by taking them for an inexpensive treat, eg, a caramel coffee, luxe cupcake or interesting type takeaway (Indian/Chinese/street food) that you eat together.
  4. Listen to your teens more. They need as much love as the toddlers, it’s just in a different way – often far more challenging for parents.
  5. When revision gets too much set up a cooking challenge that involves your teen (and maybe you too) being outside. Going for a walk isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, so try the outdoor cuppa challenge for anyone who loves the book or film of The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit. I handed Lola some sticks and our Storm Kettle one spring March Sunday and suggested she tried using it to make us tea. It’s not easy unless you’ve had a lot of practice – make sure you have several boxes of matches, especially if there’s a breeze. When you know there’s a kettle inside it takes the pressure off, but by 4.15pm the water was hot and we were able to enjoy two mugs of Earl Grey and biscuits, watched by a pair of courting long tail tits.

Over to you
Let me know what works in your household – especially families who’ve done this all before.

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