Simply said, dealing with a difficult child just isn’t any fun. Whether it’s opposition, aggression or plain old whining, your child’s not-so-great behaviors can quickly rain on your parade.
Sometimes the traditional methods of discipline just won’t work to turn your difficult child into a model of perfection (or at least somewhat manageable). Instead of throwing in the towel when it comes to a tiny terror, try a more creative solution to the problem.
Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts projects aren’t only for making cute Christmas gifts for grandma and colorful drawings to hang on the fridge. Using an art activity with your difficult child can redirect her attention, calm her down and even help to get some of the aggression out.
One caveat: a child in the throws of a temper tantrum may make quite a mess on the way to calming herself down. that said, quickly prep the art making area first by throwing a sheet, tarp or layer of newspapers down. Give your little one a piece of clay to pound or some finger paints to squish around to help channel her difficult behaviors into a more positive outcome.
Dance It Out
Some difficult behaviors are a result of pent-up frustration or an excess of un-released energy. If your toddler is going to thrash about on the floor in tantrum mode anyway, why not set it to music? Put on her favorite tunes or other upbeat music and get her to go from flailing with no purpose to flailing as a dancer.
Dancing can also help kids who are having a difficult time following directions or making transitions. Have your little one dance her way through cleaning up her toys or put on music to move from one activity to another.
Something to Look at
For some kids, if they don’t see it, then it doesn’t exist. This is especially true for toddlers and preschoolers who often have no concept time.
For example, you ask for your preschooler’s patience while you fold laundry or answer a phone call. You aren’t asking for her silence all day long, just that she involves herself in an activity (other than you) for 5 or ten minutes while you sit nearby. After one minute she starts saying, “Mommy are you done yet?” about five million times. Instead of chastising her for her impolite behavior, give her a visual to help her understand your needs.
Set an egg timer or the timer on your cell’s clock so that she can watch the countdown.
Use your child’s fleeting attention span to your fullest advantage. Instead of focusing on her difficult behaviors (her inability to express her emotions or verbalize her feelings may make this a frustrating pursuit), give her a distraction.
A lengthy lecture won’t solve your toddler’s tantrum over the fact that she can’t have a cookie 30 minutes before dinner. But, sitting on your lap looking at her favorite book or going for a quick jaunt outside in the backyard with you might.