Teaching my children some self-control when emotions want to take over.
Our three year-old sweet boy can experience a lot of emotions, do a whole lot of crying, just because he can’t have something the way he wants it. He then sits just around and cries his eyes out.
Today, while eating breakfast on a relaxing Easter Monday, I poured some Milk in his cup. Something, he told me a bit too late “he wanted to do by himself”. As I told him that it’s too late as the milk was already in the cup, he just put his head on the table and started crying.
That meant the end of a peaceful, relaxing breakfast… unless we come up with something!
I remembered the one book I read about Education (Loving our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk), that speaks about “teaching kids to control their emotions in a good way”. For me, this was a time to teach my sensitive boy to control his “sadness over the milk he couldn’t pour by himself into the cup”. Therefore, I started to explain to him that I didn’t want a crying boy on our breakfast table that he can go in the living room just on the other side of the kitchen – or stop crying.
He didn’t want to. So, I took him in my arms, went with him in the living room. I told him that I want to show him something.
I took two sheets of papers
I put a big smile on one paper.
A crying face on the other.
Then we went together in hallway between the kitchen and the living room.
With some tape I hang the one picture with the smiley face on the kitchen-door, the picture with the sad face on the living-room-door. Then I did ask him: “Do you want to go through the door with the sad face- or the one with the happy face?
Very interestingly for me, he was doing hard thinking for about 30 seconds. Then he hesitantly pointed toward the living room door. I took one step in that direction. He shouted “No, no, in the kitchen, the happy face!” I asked him: “so no more crying?” He shook his head, smiling.
Therefore, I sat him back on his chair. As family we were now just sitting around our breakfast table, all peacefully and happy.
As our oldest finished his breakfast, he went in the living room, fallowed by his sister. They both came back a little time later, with a sheet of paper… with faces on it!
We all were laughing so hard – these faces were awesome!
One drew a so-so face, in case our three-year old was in his mood of not knowing what he wants. He then put it on the door that goes outside, thinking that outside is always a good place to get in a good mood.
The other one drew an angry face and with some adhesive tape she hang it on the bedroom door. So, that when he’s angry, he can go and jump on the bed.
I felt so grateful for that day I did read that book. I think the reading was already one or two years back, but in the right time, I remembered what I read about a similar situation. (That’s why I like reading good Books about raising kids. Many times, I remembered something I read just in the right timing.) Anyway, that morning, this situation that could have turned into a tiring breakfast with a crying child – turned into a situation, were we could start to teach that we can choose how we react to situations. That there is an important word called “ self-control ”. We can choose what feeling we let dominate us. And it was strengthening the family bonding, as the others came up with funny faces, and original interpretations to it.