How do I deal with my children's fighting and constant screaming and crying and tantrums without getting so stressed and irritable?
It is so exhausting, isn’t it? I have two boys, 18 months apart and it is a constant challenge. I find if I am able to give my children some one-to-one attention, it boosts their behaviour too. I know this is so much easier said than done but finding a bit of time with each child does help.
I also find that my two boys are so much better when they have freedom to play outdoors. Their behaviour is always worse in the house. So, I try to find time for them outside at a park/exploring in the woods.
I have a few behaviour strategies too…
If you find yourself getting upset. Tell them how you are feeling. 'I don’t like what you are doing, it is making me upset. I need to walk away. I am going to sit on my calm space on the sofa.' It is important to calm yourself down first, then you can deal with the children calmly. If you tell them you need to walk away, this will eventually teach them to do the same. If they don’t like something that someone else is doing, they can walk away too.
Acknowledge their feelings too. 'I see you are upset because you want to play with the train. … is playing with it at the moment. When he is finished, you can have a turn. I will help you find something else to play with while we wait.' Role model how to ask to play with someone too. Role model how to ask for help. 'When we need help, we say help please.'
You could have a calming space somewhere too. This really helped my eldest (now five). Get them to set it up with you. If they are feeling cross/upset, they can go to this space. You will need to play an active part in it initially and role model using it.
I hope this helps a little. Let me know if you need any more help.