One of the most effective tools I’ve used in becoming a calmer parent is simply keeping my mouth shut.
Our children expect us to yell when they are acting out. They want to push our buttons and get our attention. If we’re able to stay quiet and respond to them calmly, we shock them instead of them shocking us.
Get into the habit of never answering your child immediately. At first, try counting to three whenever they say anything to you, then allow yourself to respond. After you’ve mastered that, increase the count to five. Then ten.You can do it. You don’t fly off the handle and scream at your kids in public do you (well, not often anyway)? Then you can control yourself at home, too.
This goes for everyday requests as well as tantrums or bad behavior. I can’t tell you how many times my kids yell “MOM!” when they can’t figure something out or they want something. If I don’t answer right away, it gives them a few moments to think about their need and reflect on whether they might be able to handle it themselves. And sometimes I’ll soon here a “Never mind.”
When you’ve mastered the art of delayed response, you’ll be able to evaluate the situation at a later time when you and your child are both more calm. This kind of self-control is the basis for calmer parenting.