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Temper tantrums to technology

Your common parenting questions answered

Being a parent can be a roller coaster ride with lots of joy but also lots of questions. The daily struggles of raising children can leave us at a loss or wondering if “this just happens to me!” You are not alone.

Here are some common questions we get at the Parent & Family Resource Center. Maybe these are some of your questions too.

“My 3-year old has enormous meltdowns and temper tantrums. They’re awful!   What can I do?”

Tantrums are a normal part of a young child’s life and they can trigger strong emotions in parents too. Start by asking, “Is my child hungry, tired or even just overwhelmed?” Remember, they are not yet skilled at handling big “storm” emotions. Your child is just learning. Take a deep breath. Modeling your calmness and control helps a child feel safe even when their emotions are big and scary. Ignoring the behavior may be effective to let the moment pass but paired with being in tune with your child and noticing when positive behavior happens again, will give your child the message of where you give more energy and attention. Moving your attention away but staying in the room ensures your child is safe and you can better notice positive changes and direct your attention there. No one wins in a shouting match. Your quiet voice can be contagious. Let them catch your calm.

The parenting pyramid from the Incredible Years® series gives many more options to increasing positive behaviors.

“I worry about my kid’s technology use.”

The digital age has become a topic with many concerns, questions and even battles in families. Technology is going to play a big part in our children’s lives. Our children are what Dr. David Walsh calls, “digital natives.” So our job as parents is to prepare them. What is in their digital diet? How much and what kind? Just like a parent’s job is to provide a child with nutritious food for their body, we monitor, set and enforce healthy limits with technology. Love and Logic® helps parents set enforceable limits. A Magical phrase we love is: “We allow devices in the home as long as they don’t interfere with us having a loving and respectful family.” Technology use can be an opportunity to teach lifelong learning. Love and Logic® says, “An important factor we can control is how we talk with kids and prepare them to become good decision-makers about the digital world. A healthy relationship in which we communicate openly about expectations and about real cause and effect will go a long way toward keeping kids safe when we are not around.”

Learn more about parenting in the digital world at www.commonsensemedia.org or join a Love & Logic® series and experiment with more enforceable statements.

“My 3 year old is a terror to get to sleep. I’m exhausted!”

It’s common for 3 and 4-year-olds to have trouble getting to sleep and waking more at night, even if they were previously good sleepers. In this stage of development they now have the ability to begin to think outside themselves and to use imagination which can create fears.

The National Sleep Foundation also recommends these tips for preschoolers:

  • Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule.
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.
  • Child should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night in a room that is cool, quiet and dark – and without a TV or electronics.

In her book “Sleepless in America”, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka says, “A good night’s sleep begins in the morning.” Check out her book with more great ideas and many other resources available from our free lending library.

West Dakota Parent & Family Resource Center is here for you. Join a parenting session and learn more about setting routines, keeping consistency and managing tension in the day to day life with children or just give us a call to talk. It’s easy! Visit West Dakota Parent & Family Resource Center or call at 701-456-0007 or toll free at 1-877-264-1142. Visit the website at www.dickinson.k12.nd.us/westdakota for upcoming session information and new resources. “Strengthening families today for tomorrow”