This is probably not the part of parenting you daydreamed about.
When you held that sweet little newborn in your arms and imagined him being able to walk and talk, you probably didn't consider that those abilities would help him run screaming from you in the middle of the grocery store. Unfortunately, there's no magic pill to stop toddlers and preschoolers from acting out. Since it's part of their development, you won't always be able to prevent this behavior. However, with some planning and patience, you can reduce its frequency and severity -- and maybe even preserve your sanity in the process.
1Child-proof for your child. The fewer chances your child has to do something dangerous, the fewer chances she'll act out because you made her stop. Keep in mind things beyond regular child-proofing; some kids are such avid climbers that you'll need to rearrange the furniture so that they can't climb to the top of the bookshelf.
2Follow a routine. If your kid screams every time she has to stop playing and eat lunch, remind her that after lunch comes her beloved story time. Routines help kids make transitions without acting out.
3Encourage sleep. Think about how cranky you feel when you're overtired; then multiple that by a hundred. That's how your young child feels if he's not getting enough sleep. Follow your pediatrician's guidance regarding nighttime and, if applicable, daytime sleep targets.
4Catch your child being good. Feel like you spend your whole day saying no? So does your little one. Instead, focus on praising her when she is not acting out. Give her the extra attention for positive, not negative, behavior.
5Know your child's limits. The grocery store can be overwhelming at the best of times; don't try it when your child is already tired or hungry. Also, see if the store delivers, so that you can avoid the situation if you recognize your child has reached his limits.
6Share some control. You want your little one to wear pants because it's freezing outside; she is acting out because she wants to wear shorts. Next time, let her pick out her pants the night before.
7Distract him. He left the truck in the sandbox, and now another child is playing with it. Before he charges over to grab the truck, distract him with another toy or a trip to the swings.
- Give yourself a break each day. Watch a silly show or read a book for pleasure, even if it's just for 10 minutes. The more stressed out you are, the more likely it is that your kiddo will act out.
- Remain calm when your kids do act out. Losing your temper won't help them control theirs.