As with anything in life worth doing, we benefit from taking steps to maximize our efforts. In parenting, our results are directly linked to our mindset. Any parent knows how easy it easy to become frustrated with your child when they test the limits or when they are overtaxed and collapse into meltdowns.
Think great parent and hold that mindset.
G = Giggle
R = Relax
E = Engage
A = Attune
T = Time
If your child just emptied all the toys out of the boxes along the entire entrance hall ten minutes before company is set to arrive, this is a natural form of self entertainment for your child. For you it is the last thing you needed right now after you have cleaned, picked up, cooked and need to take a few minutes to freshen up.
Rather than react, or actually over-react take a moment to yourself. Apply the great parent mindset. Giggle, it is a great stress reducer. By nature this is a wonderful reminder to take ourselves and the momentary frustration with a grain of salt. Giggling helps to put things in the proper perspective. If you can’t giggle at least smile and try to silently laugh.
Once you have giggled which is much easier to get yourself to do than “breathing exercises” because that requires you to be calm already, you will naturally start to see the humor in the situation. While this may not seem natural it puts you in the right mindset because later you will know that toys dumped on the floor were not so horrible.
Rather than yell at your child for dumping the toys and giving orders to immediately pickup which is likely to induce a meltdown you want to engage. Engage your child’s cooperation perhaps by playing a game as you get the toys to their proper containers. Bypassing overreacting saves you both time and heartache.
Attunement to your child is putting yourself in their shoes and recognizing that when your energy and attention is going elsewhere, perhaps in getting ready to go out the door, a child will find a way to self-entertain and draw your attention and recognition to themselves. Attunement directly impacts the outcome and puts things in perspective.
Since you are attuned you recognize how delightful your child found it to dump the toys. If you take the time to join the playful mindset you will be able to creatively bring in a team of pilots who land on the runway, while you and your child load the cargo compartments with the toys and fly them to their homes.
Notice how easy it was to become a great parent instead of that parent who over-reacts in moments of stress and time pressures. By keeping your eyes on your goal to be a great parent you have put yourself in the right mindset and prevented potential disaster. While make mistakes are a natural part of parenting, the right mindset puts you closer to the Great Parent you want to be.