Take care of yourself. Prioritize sleep, exercise, alone time (me-time) and adult time. This allows yourself to be healthy, engage in positive relationships and avoid high stress levels.
Schedule Family Fun Time. Engage the family in activities that allow positive interactions, including movie time, snuggling, and hopefully, laughing and talking as much as you can.
Know your Triggers and Pick your Battles. What sets you off? Take preventive measures so that you can teach yourself how to handle specific situations OR discover what you can do to avoid putting yourself in those situations.
Plan Ahead and Give Fair Warning. Be clear on expectations so there is no confusion. Also, make sure there are no surprises and that your child is aware of transitions and/or any changes that are about to happen.
Walk away and take deep breaths. When it gets ugly, your gut reaction is to scream. Instead, try to put your mind in a relaxed state by walking away, counting to 10 and taking deep breaths.
Get Physical. You might prefer to jog in place or do jumping jacks. This helps to release stress and helps to distract you before you are ready to face the problem head on.
Wait several minutes before returning (depending on age). Once you have calmed your nerves, you can address your child in a more productive manner. This also gives your child time to think about the situation.
Squeeze an object. Remember those squeezable stress toys that you loved as a child? Break them out again (or invest in new ones)! Take all your anger out on the ball OR Play-Doh, before resorting to yelling. You will appreciate it in the long run!
Lower your Expectations. Research what is developmentally appropriate for your child. Don’t expect a young child to be able to sit quietly for hours in the car or at a library, when that is more then they can handle.
Whisper. This will get the attention of your child and makes them focus more to hear what you have to say instead of tuning you out.
Ask for Help. Taking care of young children can be exhausting and overwhelming. If you need, ask for help from family, friends or professionals. Take a break and the time to rejuvenate yourself.
Forgive yourself. When all else fails and you can’t hold back, don’t beat yourself up. Use it as a learning experience and note that the next time you will respond differently.