We’re going crazy!
Okay, not really. But our daughter has way too much energy to be contained in a hotel room. Or a house even.
One of the blessings of having an SWC (a strong willed child) is that they never lack for energy or ideas. Seriously….they never lack for energy! Case in point: my daughter was running around a hotel room a couple weeks ago in Austin (we were there for a fabulously fun wedding weekend for some friends of ours) growling at herself in the mirror while we finished getting ready enough to take her out.
I mean, when did my sweet, precious little girl start growling like a lion cub?! She has all this pent up energy and when people or situations stand in her way she just growls in frustration. (And then she thinks it’s funny and keeps doing it 😛 ) Even though she is very social, if a person she loves stands in the way of her mission….watch out!
Now, I can engage her mind and help her stretch out her patience on a car ride and in the grocery store. She can be a perfect little angel and mommy’s helper. But sometimes, she just has an idea in her head and can’t bare to have it interfered with. Or just doesn’t have any patience left.
Granted, I can’t blame her – sometimes I still feel that way myself! 😛 As an adult, though, I have learned to take a deep breath, push through, or whatever the situation requires. And as a mom, this is something I need to teach my daughter.
But how? How can I channel her energy and the occasional aggression that pops up? After all, her energy and aggression aren’t bad per say. She just needs to be shown the proper way to express herself.
#1: There Are Things You Can Hit
It was my husband who came up with the brilliant idea of having our daughter give high fives when she was feeling the need to hit. Or otherwise be aggressive. (After all, when you raise a strong willed child you know you will be much more successful at steering her (or him) towards a certain set of behaviors if you convince your child it is their idea in the first place!)
So, yes, our one and a half year old has “up high” and “down low” as a permanent and pronounced part of her vocabulary.
On top of teaching our daughter to high-five, we also show her other things she can constructively hit. Such as a drum, a ball, and a peg-and-hammer stool. After all, telling her she can’t do something and giving her no option is going to only frustrate her more. And our goal is to help her channel that frustration rather than tamp it down.
#2: And There are Times You Just Have to Be (Mostly) Nice
Sometimes we are in a grocery store and she growls at a lady just because said lady interrupted our daughter while she was on a mission to get a snack bar.
Now, this isn’t really the time to get our daughter to do high-fives. For one, it looks like I am condoning this behavior. And for two, I have groceries and a purse and a shopping list filling my hands. And there really isn’t anything in a grocery store that she can constructively hit. So what am I to do? Well, I just have to tell her that growling is not an acceptable form of communication. And then I give her options for what she can do: you can wave, say hello, or say goodbye if you don’t want to talk to someone. (Usually, she will say bye-bye very emphatically and then move on.) But giving her these optiosn give her the freedom to make her own choice – to pick the right behavior on her own.
#3: And Then There Is a Time to Be Silly!
Sometimes it isn’t aggressive energy that we need to channel but just energy! Like when we are in a hotel room and our daughter is longing to run free (and doesn’t have her normal piles of books to distract her). That is when I have to attempt to get really creative and constructive. And try to get her involved in a song that requires motion, such as “If You’re Happy And You Know It”. As she tries to follow the moves AND sing along she ends up getting wiggles out and has all her attention diverted to her current activity.
Occasionally she is tired of songs (though that is the very, very rare occasion!) or sometimes I am just not in the position to sing. Like right now while I am writing this blog post! Lol…though I have tried to do both at the same time. Unsuccessfully I am sad to report 😛 So I try to involve her in an active game. Such as chasing a large yoga ball around the house. Or dancing with her bubble wand outside. (Did you take a good peek at the title graphic?)
Do you have any go-to ways you channel your strong-willed toddler’s aggression? I would love to know! Tell me in the comments below! 🙂
Have a beautiful and aggression free day!