Kids driving you crazy? You're not alone.
Is your toddler driving you insane? Would it help to know you're not the only parent feeling that way? Go ahead and take a deep breath. Learning not to lose it around your little ones might require some practice, but you can make the hair-pulling moments a thing of the past.
1Get out. Really, get out of the room, or even get out of the house if there's another adult present who can take over for a while, and try to disconnect. Can you lock yourself in the bathroom for a warm bubble bath while Dad watches the little one? Go for a walk around the block, take a time out -- and get yourself to the movies or the gym -- or sit outside for five minutes if that's all the time you can afford to get away. Breathe. Then breathe again. There's nothing wrong with needing some space, and it can make a world of difference.
2Identify what behaviors really annoy you. Is it the non-stop talking, the "my toddler is ignoring me again" feeling or something more specific? Once you pinpoint what bothers you, think of a way of changing it. For example, set up a reward system where preschoolers get stickers every time they do something right, like complying with a request the first time they're asked. You might be able to get rid of the annoying behavior -- or at least a few of the most annoying habits -- so you don't have to feel like you're going crazy all the time.
3Re-evaluate your house rules. Is your toddler running around out of control, ignoring your requests and basically doing as he pleases? You're either not setting enough rules or there are no consequences for breaking them and he knows it. Be aware that enforcing rules will probably be a nightmare at first, so you might need to use the "walk away" tip often. Once things settle down and he realizes there's no choice but to stick to the rules, things might get a lot better.
4Look at the big picture. Is a little spilled juice going to be the end of the world? Probably not. Is it really that important that your toddler is in bed by 7 p.m. -- even if it requires screaming your head off -- or would 8 p.m. be okay if it means a peaceful bedtime routine? If you expect things to be perfect or always turn out a certain way, you're in for a world of headaches. Look at your expectations and be ready to be flexible.
5Count to 10. Or 20 or 30, if that's what it takes. Don't respond or react until you've finished counting. That should give you enough time to process the information available so you can react more calmly. Not enough? Count to 50.
- Could it be that the lack of patience is due to stress in your own life, rather than something the little ones are doing? If that's the case, find ways to get rid of the bad energy before you go home. How about a yoga class or coffee with friends so you can talk about something else besides parenting? Check your sleeping and eating habits to see if there's something you can change to make yourself feel better.