This advice is only for you, not for me, because I certainly never raise my voice at my precious child and what kind of person does such a thing??
Fine, I yell, I’ve yelled, there’s been some yelling about some things. And despite the fact that I know better and it doesn’t actually work (kids strangely do not move faster in the morning just because you yelled about how they should move faster in the morning), my voice can still get loud on occasion. It seems that wanting to be more patient and actually becoming more patient do not automatically go hand-in-hand.
Amanda Rueter, a mental health counselor and founder of Messy Motherhood, tells the Strength in Words podcast that she decided to try a new tactic to curb her own yelling. She posted physical reminders — things she could see and touch — throughout her house to remind her of her challenge to stop yelling at her kids:
My son’s favourite colour at the time was yellow, and so I cut yellow hearts out of construction paper and I posted them in ‘hot spots’ around my house; on his bedroom door to help me for bedtime, on my kitchen refrigerator for dinner times … on my rearview mirror in the car. Places like that so I could bump into them throughout the day.
She used these hearts both as a reminder to stay calm and as an anger check-in tool. Whenever she’d run into one, she would do a quick internal check of her mood to help recognise whether her anger was building and it was time to implement a calm-down strategy (she’s got a list of 50 “calm down tips” you can request from her website).
I think the heart is a particularly sweet choice, but your posted reminders could be anything that catches your attention and causes you to consider whether the interactions with your kids are getting tense—stop signs, characters from their favourite show or sticky notes with calming mantras.
As a bonus, this is a positive example to set for our kids as they learn how to manage their own big emotions—it’s never too late to try to do better.