Many parents will be able to relate to the following scenario. You are late for an important meeting at work. Your 4-year-old is determined to put their own shoes on – a task that you know takes a bit longer than you must spare that morning. She is unable to thread the Velcro through the little hole. You know what is coming next. She growls a bit, she tuts – the frustration is growing. You offer to do it for her and are met with a resounding “NO.” She becomes increasingly frustrated, begins to cry, kicks her shoes off, and refuses to put them or any other shoes on at all. You are now extremely late – you are telling her she needs to put shoes on to leave. Cue full-blown tantrum. She throws herself on the floor and kicks and wriggles not allowing you to put her shoes on for her.
This is an example of how a seemingly small detail can impact a child so massively. As she was unable to thread the Velcro, her stress levels were beginning to grow. The parent is adding to her stress levels by rushing her. She does not know how to deal with the stress she is feeling, she is unaware of what has triggered it, she just knows she is feeling it and now needs to expel that energy and frustration through a tantrum.
Such situations present the ideal opportunity to teach children about other ways to meet a goal. Stop and think about how you are feeling, how about we try this instead. Over time, with consistency, children will learn to realise they are feeling stressed, learn to stop, think and produce a different solution.