Dear Principal Lisa,
We don’t know how to manage anymore with our daughters’ outbursts. They have worsened since she turned three and her younger brother has come along. She is hitting her brother when he is laying on the floor under the baby gym and then this turns into an hour of sobbing when we tell her not to do it. Sometimes she has a tantrum over the colour of her cup at lunchtime, it can be anything that triggers her. We have tried so many things, we have tried explaining and talk to her. We have tried reward charts, and spending more time with her. We are worried about what impact this will have on the baby and how to stop it as it’s hard to see her so upset each day.
Thanks for your help and advice, it's great to see your reels on Instagram, they really help us as a family.
Thanks for getting in touch. I understand this problem very well as so many Mums contact me with the same challenges. It’s really common, you are not alone.
Young children struggle to regulate themselves and their emotions, this can result in some really challenging moments. We tend to call these tantrums.
Reducing the amount of these outbursts can be helped by:
Identifying triggers and making changes
Avoiding getting over tired or hungry can help young children
Consistent boundaries that are clearly set out can help children to feel safe with the adults being leaders.
I would like to suggest we look at preventing tantrums away from the moment and develop skills and understanding to equip children to process the big feelings. I also feel that big adult reactions lock children into repeating challenging behaviour. I know it’s difficult, but less is more. Try to hold things steady and feel safe by keeping your own reactions low-key. This will get better, hang in there Mummy.
Could you create a “Yes Play Space” for your younger child? Somewhere safe for baby to play and when your daughter comes over you could say things like “ you are coming in rather fast, let's slow down a little” or “ it’s exciting I know to play with baby” Sometimes changing the environment can set children up for success. A playpen for baby to safely play?
I find through my work that children and parents are stuck in a particular pattern of behaviour and it sounds like you are in that cycle with your daughter. Children need new skills, ideas, and solutions to move forward.
Children are fantastic problem solvers. Just like adults they can be big agents of change. What ideas could your daughter have?
It’s just a question of reaching them and giving them some language to communicate with.
Try reading books about feelings. There are lots available. Naming feelings helps. Connecting words and scenarios
Social stories. Act out feelings with toys. Role play the different situations your daughter finds tricky. Let her be the expert.
Try to catch your daughter getting it right and reinforce those behaviours with positive reinforcement.
I work with families daily on these issues. I’d love to help so please get in touch to attend a workshop or book a 1-1. Let’s find solutions together.