ROLL with it

We’ve all had days where something doesn’t go as planned and we need tell ourselves to take a breath, adjust and roll with it. As adults, we have experience with this happening time and time again and know that this is what we should do. However, for our children, who a lot of the time have their hearts set on something or are used to a particular routine, accepting change or an unexpected event may not be as easy to do. Without being able to sometimes handle their strong emotions, a child may act out and inevitably have a tantrum. We want to help them understand and cope with unforeseen circumstances in order to be resilient and prepare them for the realities of the ups and downs in life.

Have you ever tackled a busy day and ended up with more than you bargained for? Every time you start on a task, it blows up in your face. A red sock ends up in your white load, turning everything a garish shade of pink, the hair stylist cuts your hair too short, and every 5 minutes you are getting a text from friends and family needing you to drop what you’re doing and help them now.

These experiences are enough to make anyone grumpy—and it’s something kids will also face. They lug the milk to the table and end up spilling it all or try to give themselves a haircut and realize bangs were actually not as cool as they’d imagined.

If this wasn’t enough to make kids lose their cool, they also have a bossy manager that insists on pulling them away from their dolls or blocks and taking them off to do boring things. It’s no wonder kids have tantrums.

While tantrums can’t be completely eliminated any more than you can completely get rid of bad days, there are things you can do to help your child learn to adapt and roll with the punches.

Tantrums often stem from being surprised by an unexpected event. If you think about the times you have personally lost your cool, they probably stemmed from a surprise. After all, even if laundry isn’t our favorite task, we probably weren’t boiling over at having to do it until we were surprised by our white load turning pink.

You can help your child avoid some tantrums by keeping them up to date on events. If you’ve got a lot of errands to run, let them know all the places you are planning to go, so they’re not surprised by an extra event when they’re already tired.

You can also help children deal with anger, resentment, and many other negative emotions by sympathizing and helping them put their feelings into words.

“Are you angry because you can’t get the toy you wanted today? I’m sorry. I wanted some things I couldn’t have today too. Maybe we can save our money and get it next time.”

Putting it into words, and offering a suggestion on how your child can roll with it, can make a big difference in how kids handle those difficult moments.

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give your child a choice
Remember that bossy manager we mentioned? While of course you probably don’t think of yourself that way, the truth is children get ordered around all day long by us. We remind them to get dressed, to eat, decide what they eat, where to go, and when. Giving your child a choice can help them feel like they have some control over their lives, which reduces tantrums.

This doesn’t have to be choices that will impact your life. Simply asking them if they would prefer an apple or a banana for a snack can help kids feel like they have some control.

give them a productive outlet for their emotions
Rolling with things takes practice. Asking your kid to simply stop feeling an emotion, such as anger or grief, is both unproductive and unhealthy. Instead, help give your child something constructive to do to unleash their anger, such as stomping their feet instead of hitting or biting.

Kids are still growing and developing. They need our guidance in order to be successful at managing their emotions. Through patient handling, you can help them learn how to manage their own feelings later on. For more information on emotional intelligence read our think HAPPY and choose HAPPY blogs.

books to encourage kids to roll with it
The following books can help your child learn about how to respond when things don’t go their way. No More Tantrums (Big Kid Power) by Maria van Lieshout is a great book that shows kids that there are other ways to handle strong emotions without having a tantrum. When Miles Got Mad by Sam Kurtzman-Counter is about a boy who learns to communicate his anger when his little brother breaks his favorite toy. Zach Gets Frustrated (Zach Rules Series) by William Mulcahy provides a neat 3 step method that helps Zach handle a day when things aren’t going well for him.

coloring fun
Please enjoy this free Tot Tails coloring page to help share this message with your child.

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