Shhhh. I have a little secret (two, actually). Well, it's not much of a secret to my upstairs and downstairs neighbors. Fortunately, they are also parents of small children, and quite understanding. It is kind of an embarrassing secret since I am such a big proponent of positive parenting.
You've figured out by now that my secret is yelling. (Well, you probably knew that as soon as you read the title.) But I have another secret. It's the secret way I remember to stop yelling. (Note: this post contains affiliate links.)
The boys are very high energy (nothing wrong with that), easily distracted (as are all kids), and also fight a lot (like most siblings). In short, they frequently drive me bananas. Oh we have "family kindness tokens" and practice daily gratitude, and I prep myself for the after school crazies, but we all have our particular weaknesses.
I do not want to yell. I hate yelling. It's also a completely ineffective way of dealing with children. Now, this is not a post about alternative discipline techniques. Yelling is not discipline. Yelling is just me demonstrating my lack of communication skills and my failure to take a moment to breathe and take stock of the situation. (In any case, I'm more a proponent of connecting and forming a relationship with my kids than punitive punishment and reward discipline systems.)
I've learned a lot about how to communicate with the kids, especially from the books How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk and Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, so it's not as if I don't have strategies.
The thing is. When I am in the thick of things, I forget.
I forget not to yell. And then I beat myself up for my failure. (Never a good thing.)
I know that sounds lame. I've tried visual reminders around the apartment, but after a day or so, they just became part of the scenery.
However, one trick I started a few weeks ago has been working. Not that life is perfect now, but I have noticed a pretty significant improvement in how I handle the after school chaos.
I put a reminder on my phone. Yep. Every day, right before I pick up the boys, I hear a little chime, or feel a vibration in my pocket. There's something about the physical action I have to take to pull out the phone, and click "dismiss" (or snooze, if I feel a particularly tough afternoon coming on) that makes the reminder stick in a way all those passive reminders didn't.
Just a little nudge to be a calmer person.
I was telling a friend of mine (actually we were having a good laugh about it) about my phone reminder and she told me she has a small object she keeps in her shoe! Every time she stomps her foot when she is upset, she feels a pinch of pain to help stop her in her tracks. Literally!
So, after that I felt quite normal with my phone reminder. Ha!
If you are truly ready to stop yelling, I highly recommend you also get a hold of these 50 calm down tips that you can put up at home where you are going to see them all the time!
Or just go straight for the Stop Yelling Handbook for stellar advice.
More simple parenting ideas:
- One simple trick to get 10 minutes of peace
- Sibling tip jar to help kids get along
- Parenting books you will actually use
- What to try instead of dinner conversation