Sometimes I think toddlers were created to make adults learn how to increase their patience in this world. How did they learn to push our buttons so quickly in life?

“Ellie, don’t go outside without a jacket.”

Ellie looks at her dad with a raised eyebrow.

“Ellie, I said don’t go outside without a jacket. Plus, you are wearing sandals instead of your sneakers. It’s 50 degrees out. You are going to freeze. Do not go outside without putting on the proper clothes…”

Before I can finish the sentence, I see little Ellie sprinting away in the front yard. Of course, she leaves the front door wide open so the dogs run out as well. Maybe that was her plan after all. It would take me ten minutes to catch the dogs and this would give her ten minutes of playing time in summer clothes as the cold winds blow.

If this situation or something similar has ever happened to you, how do you not yell at your toddler?

Think of the RamificationsI always try to remind myself of what it was like to be a kid. I believe this has made me a fair teacher and a good parent. I like to think of myself as a Ward Cleaver father since he was always able to relate to Beaver on the problems he was getting into.

My own parents would always yell and scream first and then ask questions later. I spent most of my childhood in constant fear because of this. Looking back, I can’t really blame them as they had nine kids to keep in line, but the amount of anxiety I felt every day was not fun either. I definitely don’t want my own kids to think they have to be so fearful of me later on in life that they don’t approach me with their problems.

Use These Strategies to Keep Yourself From YellingMost parents probably feel pretty low a few minutes after they yell at their kid and let their anger get the best of them. Use these strategies to hold your anger at bay and handle yourself as a responsible parent would.

  • Count to ten. It may sound simple and perhaps even generic, but it works. Those ten seconds allow you to calm down at least a little.
  • Reconsider what is actually making you mad. Are you truly so angry at your child that you feel you have to scream at them or is something else going on in your life that is affecting your mood?
  • Toddlers are supposed to be toddlers. You don’t have an adult in a mini-me body. Perhaps their actions are just normal for their age and you are overreacting.
  • Post a list of rules on the fridge that the children should remember forever. If they know what is expected, they can modify their own behavior. Of course, since most toddlers are not able to read fluently yet, you will have to read it to them.
  • Use timeouts for your toddler. I have a wooden timeout chair with “I love you very much and you are a good child, but you made a bad decision this time” carved into the seat of it. The kid knows they messed up when I send them to the chair, but at least they have a reminder that I would do anything for them.

If You Do Yell, Have It Happen RarelyAt some point, every parent loses their cool. We can’t all be like the Fonz every moment of the day. But if you are a parent or just a person in general that yells about everything, people will tune you out, much like the boy who cried wolf. How are we to know when something is really upsetting you? Yell once in a blue moon and it will have more of an effect on your toddler when it happens.