Are you feeling the stress of parenthood? Do you feel like you’re constantly yelling and telling your child no or stop and they just aren’t listening?

Do you feel frustrated? Are you at the end of your rope? Is pandemic parenting getting the best of you? Are you yelling more than you’d like to? If so, this post is for you!

In this post, I cover strategies to help bring calm to your home, alleviating your stress while alleviating the stress of your young children.

How to stop feeling so frustrated that you boil over and burst out yelling at your children

Since before I was a parent, I knew I wanted to have a home where children were respected and not yelled at in harsh voices. I wanted discipline to carry its true meaning of teaching and not have a home where we punished our children. Teaching is my goal, not keeping a record of wrong and punishment.

I wanted my children to thrive in an environment where they were cherished as people with their own unique talents to offer the world. I wanted to be the parent I’ve seen where nothing seems to rattle them. I wanted to be a gentle parent.

Now that I’m a parent, I can say this is easier said than done!

Life with kids is messy! There are big feelings to navigate and big problems to solve. The daily tasks add up and it can be hard to do it all. Scratch that! It is impossible to “do it all.” It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed by parenting. IT IS HARD! Perfection is NOT attainable. It takes a bit of organization, and a perspective shift to find your way to a calmer home. But it is so worth it!

Below are strategies for helping you create the home where you WANT to be, a home of calm and respect, love and comfort. Below are strategies to help you stop yelling at your children and find some peace.  

Strategies for Creating Calm in Your Home and How to STOP YELLING

Create a “Yes Space”

Don’t misunderstand, I don’t mean a space where you can only say yes. I am not implying that you can never say no to your child. Believe me, I say no to my children. I have experienced the earth-shattering cries of a child being told they can’t have another cookie or being told that they aren’t allowed to steal the toy that their brother is using. I don’t believe limitless yeses are either possible nor do I believe that limitless yeses are good for raising a child.

A yes space is simply a space where your child can explore and most everything is a YES for them to do. You still have boundaries and limits in a “yes space;” but a child can safely explore this space independently without being hindered or yelled at to stop.

Think of a preschool classroom. Children can move about independently, making choices without getting into much trouble or being at risk of injury. The toys are at eye level and inviting. Children are able to make choices about what to play with on their own and have room to explore and play. That type of space is essentially what you are after.

When my children became mobile, I strategically placed two gates in our home. One gate blocked off the entryway and access to a staircase and the other blocked access to the kitchen. When I close the doors in a little hallway, I KNOW my child is in a space where they are safe. The enclosed space includes the living room/dining area and a short hallway. I can see 90% of the space from the kitchen and it contains toys to choose from on their own.

Having this “yes space” helps to reduce my stress as a parent and my child’s stress from being told no constantly. I’m present with my children and still monitoring them, but I don’t have to hover or tell them no incessantly. They can explore freely from most constraints and I can relax a little as I play and follow their lead. 

Kids need room to test limits and explore ideas without constant restrictions from adults. A yes space, can provide that type of environment while at the same time decreasing a parent’s stress. When you are less stressed you are more likely to stop yourself from yelling.

Have Appropriate Expectations

The most common reason for frustration as a parent stems from having inappropriate expectations. A child has potty training accidents. They are learning to control their muscles. A child cannot regulate their emotions well. They cry and throw temper tantrums. A child cannot sit for long periods of time and children simply have a shorter attention span than adults.

When we put children into situations that aren’t developmentally appropriate, we should not be surprised when they don’t meet our expectations or act out. And yet, we seem to get frustrated and upset and yell at our children for being human and where they should be, or just are, developmentally.

Our children are tiny humans, they are where they are developmentally and have much to learn.

Our children certainly aren’t perfect, and neither are we! We should accept that we all have rough days and not demand that we/they be perfect.

Don’t you have bad days occasionally? Don’t you wish the world would cut you some slack on those days instead of yelling at you harder? How much more then should we grant grace to our little ones who already struggle to regulate their emotions when they have a bad day and they are prone to totally melting down?

On the hard days, when there seems to be lots of crying and tantrums and back talk, our kids need more snuggles and connection and grace, not more lectures and yelling to add to their distress. Remembering to have appropriate expectations and accepting where our children are developmentally can help us to keep our calm. Keeping calm will help to stop us from yelling at our children and to use more productive strategies for managing behavior.

Give Choices

So much of a child’s life is out of their control. We regulate their lives telling them where to go, what to eat, and what to do. The more you can give choices, the more control children will feel like they have and the more they can practice making decisions for themselves. This does require us as parents to let go of control at least a smidge (which can be hard since we like control just as much as our children.) But it is oh so important and really a game changer in helping maintain a peaceful home.

I want to give an extremely important tip on giving choices however…

When you give choices, both options must be equally desirable to you as the parent. (REALLY give them the power to decide.)

Choices should NOT be tests to see if your child will pick the right answer. Don’t give a choice where there is none or give a choice to your child you don’t want them to choose.

A toddler who doesn’t want to get dressed can be given the choice: Do you want to wear your red shirt or your blue shirt? (Not wearing a shirt to go outside and play is not a choice.)

A child who doesn’t want to go to the restroom can choose: Do you want to gallop like a horse to the toilet or do you want to roll like a ball?

A child who doesn’t want to get their diaper changed can choose: Do you want mommy or daddy to change your diaper? Or do you want to get your diaper changed in the bedroom or in the living room?

Giving choices can stop a potential battle and therefore giving choices to your child can stop the yelling. It puts decisionmaking in the hands of the child. The practice of giving choices gives children some control over how they do things.

Adding an element of fun to the choices may catch your child off guard and get them smiling and laughing instead of digging into their defensive NO position. Just make sure the choices you give are equally desirable to you. Essentially, your child gets to choose how something happens, not if it gets done.   

Create a Loose Routine and Have a Plan

Though they won’t tell you with words, children thrive with routines. They feel more at ease knowing what is coming next. If children have a routine they can rely on, a child can be confident that their basic needs will be met. They can relax and think at a higher level because they aren’t worrying about if they’ll get to eat and sleep.

The same goes for boundaries. Children feel comfortable with people who set boundaries for them because they know that they are not in charge of keeping themselves safe, there is a caring adult filling that role. It’s a big responsibility to be in charge! 

Creating a pattern around sleep and eating is extremely important. You’ll notice that once you’ve established the patterns that work for you and your child, your child will sleep easier and manage transitions better. They know what’s coming and their bodies are used to the pattern of their routine! You may also notice that when you break your routine you have a grumpy child on your hands.  

In my opinion, there are benefits to both a good routine and teaching your child to be flexible and to go with the flow. It is up to your family to decide how strict, or loose, you want to be with your routine. Just know that routines have a profound effect on your child’s mood and help them to anticipate what is coming next. Routines help children to have confidence that their needs will be met. 

Having a plan helps you as a parent to not have to be constantly coming up with new things to entertain your child or figuring things out on the fly which can be stressful. If I am worrying about coming up with activities or trying to meal plan all day long, I am not able to be in the moment and attend to the needs my child has right now.

I find having a written plan frees up my mental space to focus on the present which you guessed it results in less frustration on my end and therefore less yelling and more calm.  

Take Time Out for YOUR Mental Health to Create a Calmer Home and Stop Yelling

So much of how we react to our children has to do with us and how we are feeling, not with the totally typical behavior of our children. When our needs are taken care of, we are better able to think on a higher level, too, just like our children, and respond to them in more effective ways. We can better assess the situation to respond in a way that teaches instead of squashes a behavior. If you’re feeling rested and fulfilled emotionally, you’re less likely to yell and overreact and to see the situation you’re in with clarity.

If you need ideas on how to practice self-care on a budget, check out my post “10 Budget Friendly Ways to Practice Self Care for Parents.

Be intentional about taking care of yourself, setting aside time each month, each week, and each day in your schedule to clear your mind and focus on yourself. So often we get caught up in caring for everyone else around us that we forget to take care of ourselves.

I used to feel like I was being selfish if I took care of my own needs. I have come to the realization however, that in taking care of my mental health, I am also taking care of my family. When I take care of my mental health, I am a calmer parent. I am a better parent. I am less frazzled by the daily tasks of life and the millions of mishaps that happen in a day. I am a parent who yells less.

So, if you feel the guilt of taking care of you, know that taking this time to take care of yourself benefits your family as well. It allows you to be filled up so that you can pour your love back into your family. They do indeed benefit. So, if not for yourself, do this for your kids and the other people around you. Take the time. You won’t regret it.

Take time out so you can see your child clearly. See their cries as a need for affection, and a lack of skills to navigate hard times. When you’re rested you can take on your role of teacher in a calm, reasonable way rather than being the frazzled, overworked, exhausted, stressed parent you feel like.

Perspective Shift

Treat every moment as one for learning, because it is. It is important to note that we are not judge and jury as parents, but rather, teachers and mentors. When we make this shift in our parenting, it does wonders for our home. We become learners and explorers. We become nurturers of young minds.

I was a teacher in a preschool for 10 years and now I am a mom to two adorable children. Believe me when I tell you that I am still a teacher, and anyone who is a parent is a teacher too.

We do the best we can with the information we are given. Strive to never stop learning so that you can be the parent and person you want to be. Give yourself grace when you make mistakes and forgive the mistakes you’ve made in the past. Some mistakes you’ve made were surely because of a lack of knowledge.

You can only do your best with the information you currently have.

I hope you’ll be able to take some of the ideas that I’ve outlined in this post into your homes to find more peace for yourself and your children. We all want to stop yelling and to stop feeling frustrated. There’s not one quick fix but through work, trial and error, I’m sure you’ll be able to achieve the more peaceful home you desperately desire.  

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