Many experts right now are doling out advice around how to deal with child tantrums and attitude in a pandemic, as you may have noticed your kids are acting different.
Well, I hate to break it to you, our children’s behavior is very likely going to change right now for a lot of reasons (which we’ll go into in a bit) and there is no silver bullet.
There are, however, a few guidelines on how to deal with child tantrums and attitude during a pandemic that will keep you sane.
Check them out, they will save you a grey hair or five!
WHY OUR CHILDREN MIGHT BE ACTING OUT RIGHT NOW, TANTRUMS, MELTDOWNS & ATTITUDES, OH MY!
It’s not abnormal for children from toddlers to teens to struggle emotionally during this time. From tantrums, meltdowns to attitude, you may be some, or you may be seeing it all!
But the answer to why you may see your child acting out right now is both obvious and covert.
Obviously, structures in their lives they have become accustomed to like daycare, preschool or school, friends, outings, practices and family events have been, for the most part, removed.
Children need and thrive in structure. Even if you are finding a new structure for your children, it’s going to take some time to adjust.
What’s not so obvious is the ominous feeling that fills a room when the news is on, when we talk to our partners about a cancelled event, discuss the number of cases in x place, or explain the new rules around how to operate in accordance to pandemic hygiene when/if we leave our home.
This has an impact and even the smallest of children can feel that. That’s why last week we discussed how to manage our own anxieties, as they can often transfer to our children. We also discussed how we should be supporting our children during this COVID-19 global pandemic.
ACTING OUT DURING THIS PANDEMIC
It’s inevitable that taking away a child’s norm, changes to structure and an air of global anxiousness might cause your child to act in ways they don’t normally.
First, don’t be alarmed, it’s a typical response to this level of change.
However, second, keep a close eye on how your child is doing and regardless of the child’s age. Encourage an open and child appropriate dialogue between you and your kids.
But, if there’s no magic answer, then how DO we respond to tantrums and attitude?
4 WAYS TO RESPOND TO CHILD TANTRUMS & ATTITUDE
1. Be gentle and show compassion.
This may be a tough time for you as a parent, but don’t forget that in a quarantine situation the impact on children across ages is tough too.
Crying for no apparent reason, a meltdown or sibling fighting may happen and may even increase during this time. Of course we’re all home more so that might come with the age or territory in general.
2. Find out why.
This goes back to having an open and age appropriate talk with your children about what is going on and why things are the way they are at this time.
Pay attention to signs like increased level of physical closeness for younger kids and/or just being difficult for no apparent reason.
It’s not necessarily that they’re being naughty, it might just mean they feel destabilized and are unable to understand and express that. This doesn’t extend only to toddlers or young kids, it also is something we see in older children along with shutting down and overt attitudes.
3. Stay close to typical rules and expectations but be empathetic.
Another precept of Mindful Parenting comes into play during this time or any other high stress situations. It’s important that our children know the rules and how they are expected to operate, however, equally important is ensuring that our children feel understood.
4. Keep it light.
Everything doesn’t have to be serious all the time.
Create a new structure your children can get on board with and stick to it. But, don’t forget about the play. Children of all ages are looking for fun, a laugh, an upbeat atmosphere.
When talking about ‘bad’ behavior in kids, it might seem counterproductive to be fun. That we might be sending the ‘wrong’ message.
Remind your child of the rules and expectations, be clear and consistent, but move on. The mood doesn’t have to be soured. In fact, that might be fueling the fire.
Remember every child is different and only you know your child. The important thing is that we’re paying an even closer attention to our children right now even though we might be feeling depleted.
Keep your wellness and worries in sight too. This might be a marathon rather than a sprint, so you will need as much energy as you can muster up.
Feel free to drop me a line below for a check in, or to let us know how you’ve been managing behavior with your children at home during this time.
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Stay well and healthy. We will get through this!
Be good to yourself,