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By Sue Atkins

Part of Raising Happy Children For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

Managing your children’s behaviour takes hard work, persistence, dedication, a sense of perspective and a healthy sense of humour! Here are some quick tips for when you’re about to really lose your rag:

  • Be firm and fair in stating your expectations.

  • Tell your children – don’t ask them – what you expect. Of course, be polite, but don’t keep saying ‘please’ in a desperate way.

  • Use the words ‘I want you to . . .’ when you introduce an expectation. These words clearly state what you want your kids to do.

  • Use your body language and facial expression to convey that you mean what you’re saying.

  • Try being surprised when things go wrong rather than angry – doing so works wonders.

  • Distract your child if they’re having a tantrum. Pretend you find something really fascinating and get your toddler to come and have a look.

  • Ground an older child, or send them to their room.

  • Let your child know that you love them, but that you strongly dislike their behaviour.

  • Press your internal pause button. Step back and take a deep breath. Leave the room and go and shout in the garden. Pound a pillow or swear quietly under your breath. Come back to the situation feeling calmer.