Parents, we’ve all been there. Whether it’s our kid, or a sibling’s or jus some random kid we see out and about, we’ve been judgey when it comes to how kids sometimes just gotta act like kids.
i.e. be annoying…
So here are 5 ways you can recognize normal behavior and be better when responding to them.
1. “Why Are They So Agitated When We’re Out In Public?!”
We jam pack our schedules with way too much stuff, and kids oftentimes respond to this negatively because there’s just too much info coming in and they don’t know how to process it. We’ve all seen the meltdown in the middle of Target, right? Yeah we have.
Here’s what research says: 28% of us always feel rushed and 45% of us don’t feel we have any free time. And if we’re feeling it, our kids are certainly feeling it. But they don’t know how to process all of that overstimulation. So cue the meltdowns.
What can you do? Give your kids AND yourself some free time. That means simple quiet time or rest time. Heck, even a little play time by themselves where they’re not having to interact with anybody can help. Inevitably, children’s behavior improves.
2. “Why Can’t They Just Sit Still?!?”
Have you heard yourself saying any of the following?
- “Stop touching your brother’s face with that cardboard sword!”
- “We do not hurl ourselves off the couch!”
- “The dining room is not a jungle gym!”
Here’s the deal, children have a strong need to move. They need to touch, crawl, swing, jump and run around. You think kittens and puppies are cute when they do it, so understand that kids are the same way.
What can you do? Don’t think of any particular energetic expression as “bad.” Think of it as opportunity for them to figure out something physically about themselves. And if you need to get them wound down, organize a trip to the park. Or even just take a walk.
3. “Why do they keep asking me for things they know they can’t have?!”
Kids don’t really understand “special occasions,” so when we give in to a request like some random candy or reading them more books at bed time, there’s an expectation set up. And let’s be frank, kids remember this stuff incredibly well because that’s all they have to focus on in their very limited world.
Basically, if you don’t set up consistent boundaries, limits and routines, they’ll come to expect the inconsistency instead and will insist on the things they enjoy the most… which is usually chaos.
What can you do? Don’t give in to the whines and requests. Stay steady and don’t reward bad behavior just because it’ll shut them up in the near term. Because you’ll end up paying for it in the long term. So will they. Kids actually do want limits. It makes them feel safe when they know what to expect, and it helps them develop more stable routines for themselves throughout their lives.
4. “Why are they always so defiant!?”
When Winter turns to Spring, there’s a common occurrence in families: the fight about what to wear. It’s a constant struggle. And research suggests that kids are attempting to do things for themselves as early as the toddler phase and preschoolers make plans that they try to carry through.
Basically, it’s baked into our DNA to be somewhat self reliant. And what rhymes with reliant? You guessed it! Being defiant is pretty common.
What can you do? Repeat after me: kids are going to do things wrong and that’s okay. Is it frustrating? Sure. But would you rather them become an independent, free-thinking person or have to rely on you to make all their decisions for them? They’re devising plans and carrying them out, and that’s exactly what their brains and their psyches need in order to become a fully realized, functional adult.