Young children go through many, sometimes challenging, developmental phases. Magination Press’s Big Little Talks series by Alberto Pellai, MD, PhD, and Barbara Tamborini, provide fun stories to ease both parents and children through typical and common life stages using empathic listening and encouraging an understanding of age-appropriate behavior and emotions.
I Want Everything! explores a preschooler’s belief in his omnipotence–that things should be exactly the way he wants them to be–and his parent’s kind and firm response. This is an excerpt from the Reader’s Note at the end of the book, that explores strategies parents can use to help their young children build tolerance for frustration and regulate their emotions.
It is important that the adult remains calm, gives the child time to let the emotions flow, and remains in sight, even if at a distance. It’s easy to get frustrated, but the adult is the one who needs to calm the situation. Children take their cues from us; we have to set a good example.
Set Firm Limits
The challenge for the parent is to be able to say “no” firmly and calmly, and to stick to it. True freedom and healthy emotional development come from the ability to tolerate frustrations, to learn to negotiate and to see more than just their own vision of the world. Better to limit yourself to a few rules that you are strict about than to have too many that you can’t always enforce.
Prepare in Advance
You know your children best. You know what they like to do and when they find it more difficult to follow the rules. You know when they are more likely to break down. Establishing firm routines ahead of time is one of the best ways to prevent tantrums before they begin. For example, if your child often throws a tantrum about having to sit at the dinner table, establish expectation ahead of time, “You have to sit at least ten minutes.”
Help Them Find Calm
It’s nearly impossible for a child to absorb any new information when they are in the middle of a tantrum, so try practicing the calming strategies when they are already calm. That way they have a better chance of retaining them and are more likely to be able to use them when they are upset.
Validate Their Achievements
Rules must be few and logical, and make space for a reward. A child is more likely to respect rules and follow them if they are consistently enforced and open a possibility for reward. For example, “As long as you put them away after, you can play with all the games you want.”
This excerpt if from the Note to Readers from I Want Everything! To learn about ways to help your child learn calming strategies, check out posts about practicing mindfulness.
Related Books from Magination Press
I Want Everything
A boy wants everything in the world, but his parent tries to help him realize that maybe he’s okay with what he already has and that he cannot have everything that he wants. As the boy’s tantrum persists, he is gently brought back down to earth.
Big Little Talks books are fun stories to ease both parents and children through typical and common life stages using empathic listening and encouraging an understanding of age-appropriate behavior and emotions.
Includes a Reader’s Note to further explain this common behavioral and emotional stage of childhood.