How can I extend my patience? I have a 20-month-old daughter who has bee very active since she started learning how to walk. To tell you the truth, I find it very difficult to keep a cool head, especially when she is already making a mess or throwing tantrums. I hope that you could help me because it is making me feel guilty when I lose my temper.
I think it's good that you recognise it's best not to lose your temper around your children. Although I know some days as a parent can be difficult! But if you lose your temper/display anger around your child then they are likely to replicate this behaviour.
I have a son the same age as your daughter. I find that it is good to do something active in the morning and the afternoon. This helps him to not get bored and burn off lots of energy and gets us both out of the house. What works well for us, is to go to an organised playgroup once a day if possible and then have time playing in the park or garden in the afternoon. Staying active and healthy also helps him to sleep better which helps me to sleep better so I can be patient with him.
If I ever feel I am losing my patience then I try to take a step back and remind myself that these are precious times with my little lad that I want to treasure forever.
Let me know how you get on,
Thinking of you,
LJ definitely had some great ideas for you. I, too, found that my children were better behaved and happier when I was able to offer them activities to help them burn off energy. Sometimes, if we couldn't get out of the house (it was raining) then I would create an obstacle course in the house by putting couch cushions on the floor and holding their hand, having them step or jump from one cushion to the next. Sometimes I would set up a chair in the obstacle course and have them crawl under the chair. You can get creative with things around the house.
It will also help if you are getting enough sleep, as I know you said you had a 7 month old baby too, in another post. Be sure you are resting when your 7 month old is sleeping, and that you are eating healthy foods and avoiding sugar and biscuits/cookies. If you are getting enough good nutrition, you will also find that you have more patience and energy.
Sometimes it can just be good to count to 10 when you feel as if you're getting angry, and that will give you time to think about what the best response should be towards your little one. If you need to put her in her cot/crib/bed (someplace safe) and walk out of the room until you can take a few deep breaths and settle down, then that's best.
At 20 months of age she is going to start testing her boundaries more and more. Throwing a tantrum is not okay, and you need to let her know this right away. If you allow it, she will continue to do it and you'll eventually have a 5 year old who is still throwing tantrums - not a good thing.
If she throws a tantrum you can take her to her cot/crib/bed and say, "I won't let you throw a tantrum. That's not okay. When you are done crying I will come back and get you." Then close the door (as long as she's in a safe place) and walk away. You can check on her periodically and remind her that when she stops crying, she can come out of her room, but don't let her out until she's done. This will send a very clear message that tantrums don't work and they don't get the negative attention that she is used to getting.
And on that note, with a 7 month old in the home, your 20 month old may feel as if she's not getting enough of mum's attention. Be sure you are including her in your daily activities with the baby. Ask her to bring you a diaper or bring her a dummy/pacifier. Have her sit next to you while you are feeding the baby and talk to her, sing to her or read to her. This cuddle time can go a long way towards having a happy toddler who wants to please her mum.
I hope this has given you some ideas. Please post back and let us know if you have any other questions.
The lady's above have suggested some wonderful solution to your particular issue. I have four children, ages twenty months to seven years, and maintaining my cool is one of the most difficult parts of motherhood for me. One thing I have had to learn over the years is to pick my battles. If it really isn't the end of the world, why act like it? Kids making a mess, teach them how to pick up after themselves? And sometimes I will let a child pull every pot and pan out of the cabinet so that I can have a moment to relax. In the end, the small mess is worth it.
Yep - I did that alot too - let them pull things out so I could have a moment of rest, and then we picked it up together when I was rested :)
Thank you so much, dear mums! Being a new mother of two tiddlers is quite difficult but very fun and fulfilling at the same time. It makes me realize what my mum could have undergone during the time when my siblings and I were also very young.
I will now try harder to be cool. LJ is right when she mentioned about children replicating behavior. I don't want to see my daughter bursting into anger as well.
Just this weekend, I talked with all the mums in our area and agreed to have an organized playgroup in our house (because we have a big space for them at home). We started last Saturday morning, and saw the children playing calmly with toys and coloring books. Then in the afternoon, they played outside with a more active game. It was fun seeing my daughter happy and healthy.
Kate's insight was also a big help. You made me realize the importance of sleep. It could also be one of the culprits, as I have been getting only 4-5 hours of sleep every day. I realized that this is making me feel cranky all the time. I will make sure to find time to take a rest whenever possible.
My husband and I always try our best to devote equal attention to both kids. I also sometimes play with her or draw pictures with her. Regarding tantrums, this is something that I find difficult to handle, too. When she starts throwing one, I would tell her firmly that it won't work, and I would ignore her. But as soon as she starts crying very hard (to the point that she chucks up), my mother-in-law would already pick her up and tell me that it's not good to let my daughter cry just like that. I would feel guilty once again.
One good thing about my daughter is that after making a mess, I can still play with her by asking her to pick up all her toys and shoot them back to her toy box. ^^
Rest is SUPER important, not only for emotional stability, but for physical health as well. I know that when we have infants who are feeding at night, that our nighttime sleep can be interrupted often. But in general, here's a really good guideline to follow:
In bed by 9PM and you're putting energy into your body - energy that will keep you healthy and happy.
In bed by 10PM and you're breaking even.
In bed by 11PM and you're taking energy away from your body, which will eventually leave you feeling drained, sad/angry and with a lowered immune system so that you'll notice you get sick more often.
Right now, getting only 4 or 5 hours of sleep at night, I would say you need to replenish your energy reserves, which means you need to make a really big effort to be in bed (and hopefully asleep) by 9PM. Tuck your 7 month old in bed next to you and breastfeed her to sleep. Let the 20 month old cuddle and fall asleep with you or daddy. A dark and quiet room will help your children fall asleep faster.
Often times, when a person is not getting enough sleep and there is more stress on the body, they will end up with some Adrenal Fatigue. You can read more about what Adrenal Fatigue is and how to resolve it here.
This is a battle that most mums face. :) There are a few things that help me. (I have four little ones, from 9 months to 11 years).
Take a deep breath in and out. Sometimes it is in the heated moment, that you find yourself losing control. There is a small time period there, as a mum, where you can either choose to be calm, or lose your cool. The time it takes to breathe in and out, is often the moment where I am able to make a choice for the better.
The second thing I do to help myself, is to count to ten slowly. Come down to the child's eye level, and speak calmly toward them. Always remember to clearly state the offense, and why it is important for them to mind you.
Those are just a couple of ideas. I hope these help out!
Thanks Emily - these are great ideas for all mums with little ones. I agree that sometimes you need a little bit of 'time out' yourself (which counting or controlled breathing can help with) to remind yourself of how you want to talk to your children.
Venus - that sounds great about the local group meeting in your house - what a fab idea and a great way for you and your children to make more and more friends too. Very inspiring. I hope this really does help your daughter to use up some of that never-ending energy toddlers seem to have and that she subsequently has less and less tantrums.
Just last weekend, I talked with everybody in the house and asked for their cooperation. I told them frankly about why I was being cranky all the time and apologized for it. Then, I said that if they only give me enough time to take a rest, I promised that there will be better changes in my mood. My husband was very supportive about it, and so is my mum-in-law. Will let you know about the updates. Thanks for being a great help, everyone!
By the way, I still need to read about Adrenal Fatigue. ^^
Sounds really positive that you were able to talk frankly with the adults in your house. Well done - open communication always helps to resolve any issues so much quicker and ensures everyone knows what they are aiming for. I hope it results in your daughter having less tantrums.
Thanks for the update, Venus. Please post back and let us know if you got a rest today.
I have the same problem with my 14 month old and I do feel guilty when I don't have the patience but sometimes I'm just so tired :( Anyway, I'm glad I found this thread, it's very helpful.
I'm guessing your daughter probably takes at least one nap during the day, and I would encourage you to lay down and take a 20 minute power nap when she is napping.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was also working full time as an Office Manager at a preschool. I would take my lunch, prepare my food and eat for about 30 minutes, and then I'd lay on the couch and drift off to sleep and I would literally sleep for 20 minutes. My body knew when to awaken and I wasn't late getting back to work, but that 20 minute power nap gave me so much more energy and patience in the afternoon.
Also super important to be sure you are limiting your sugar and simple carbohydrate intake (i.e. biscuits, cookies, crackers, white rice, pasta and white flour products) and increasing your fresh fruit and vegetable intake, especially focusing on getting enough deep green leafy vegetables in your diet.
When you limit the simple carbs and increase the fresh fruits and vegetables you will find that you have more energy and more patience, as a result.
Here's a video showing you how to make a delicious smoothie while getting a lot of deep green leafy vegetables in one meal. Yum!