That’s rhetorical. I know you do.
When my kids are fighting and fussing and crying and I think I’m going to tear my hair out, I look to the HALT method. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s usually used in the mental health field but it’s perfect for craziness of motherhood!
You probably did it naturally when they were babies, but as they grow older, we forget that they don’t always know how to tell us (rather they don’t know themselves) what they need.
So when the stress is high, the tantrums are copious or the timeouts seem never ending, HALT! And take a look at the situation. Take a step back, literally and metaphorically speaking, and evaluate.
Hungry: Are they hungry?-is it coming close to mealtime? Did they miss a snack?
If it is close to mealtime, and lunch isn’t quite ready, try Angela’s suggestion to help ease the transition with a hangry toddler.
Angry: it seems like a given-when they are acting up, they probably are angry, but really look at why they could be angry. Have you recently changed their schedule? Or maybe it’s something small and they need a chat with mama to ease the upset.
Lonely: or bored perhaps. Have you had an outing recently? A play date? An activity? Have you spent some time in the sun? Maybe it’s time to learn something new. Or maybe it’s just time to snuggle with Mama and read a book.
Tired: Have you been at the store too long? Or the park? Maybe there is too much activity at a family event. Sometimes kiddos are running on empty but it’s hard to tell because they go full blast.
My 19 month old son purposely causes mischief when he’s tired. He gets in to things that he normally leaves alone, and laughs when I tell him no. Then he runs frantically across the room giggling all the way and grabs a bucket of toys and starts tossing them around, just because. That behavior is my clue that it’s time to get things quieted down.
Taking a look at these questions has really helped alleviate a lot of the meltdowns in our household, which takes the stress off me too. But when the my stress is high, I also do my own evaluation. Sometimes a simple HALT is all we need to get things running smoothly again.
Do you use this method in your house? Do you have your own method? I’d love to hear about it!