After you connect with your child in a moment of crisis to show that you understand their feelings and are on their side (see Magic Way 1), another simple and extremely effective step to defuse a challenging situation is to offer fun alternatives that give your child options to choose from. Is your child upset because it’s time to leave the playground and go home? Suggest a fun alternative such as racing to the next lamp pole (which is of course conveniently positioned on the way back home) or start doing the frog or the crab walk (toward home).
If a child is not able or allowed to perform a specific activity, providing a reasonable compromise or a couple of new and fun options can help children feel a sense of control and redirect their energy toward positive behaviors. Doing this allows children to see a positive path forward: it’s time for fun again! It’s a win-win situation for both parents and children. This is a very effective and essential tactic in a parenting toolkit. Instead of denying a child’s request, offer them fun alternatives and options.
For this Magic Way, we will review how to use fun alternatives to avoid a tantrum (cartoon 5) and more specifically how to avoid a tantrum with children who are two or three years old (cartoon 6). Then we will review how to avoid fights between two children struggling to share toys (cartoon 7).
Cartoons for this Magic Way:
Cartoon 5: Fun alternatives to avoid a tantrum.
Cartoon 6: Fun alternatives to avoid a tantrum (with a young toddler).
Cartoon 7: Fun alternatives to avoid fights.