On the Record: The Keep-Your-Cool Challenge

By Daniella Guzman

fullsizerenderA diaper blowout right before you need to leave your house. Bedtime tantrums. The constant need to repeat things like, “Hurry up, let’s go,” and, “Stop doing that!” A daily routine that leaves you so tired you become aggravated at your kids for splashing water at you during bath time.

There are countless ways your kids can make you lose your cool, but your reactions to these parenting trials teach your kids how to respond when they find themselves in tough situations. I’ve had parenting moments when I snap and lash out at my kids, then I feel so much guilt for not controlling my emotions.

You’ve probably seen the “Keep-Your-Cool Challenge” floating around social media. It works wonders in my household. When you’re feeling your mercury rise, try these suggestions.

Tell your kids to take a walk. My Sofia is 5 years old, a little too young to walk on her own, so I ask her to sit down, cool off and think about what just happened. Seven to 10 minutes later, once we’ve both cooled off, I’ll talk to her. It’s my responsibility to choose and control teachable moments even when my patience is being tested.

Give yourself a time-out. Take five minutes and lock yourself somewhere. I listen to a song that will calm me down and tell myself, “You’re in control of your emotions. It’s going to be OK. Stay calm.”

Take a good look. It really helps me when I just sit by my kids and take a really good look at them when they’re not looking. I quickly remember all the reasons I signed up for mommy life in the first place.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. I always hope Sofia will act appropriately when we’re at a restaurant, but I know she struggles with it. I mentally prepare myself ahead of time to react like a calm adult, so I’m not disappointed when she acts up, and I’m pleasantly surprised if she behaves.

Stick to your routine. I’m not military strict about it, but I try my best to keep similar structure in our day (with some room for flexibility), so my daughters know what to expect. It has really made our weeks and weekends less stressful.

Take care of you! Self-care is not selfish, it is essential. A walk, a short workout, talking to a friend or reading for a few minutes can help you disconnect. I’m a much better mom when I disconnect for a few minutes. It allows me to return to parenting from a more balanced placed.

Remember, they’re still learning how to do life. Expecting my 5-year-old and 10-month-old to behave perfectly all the time is setting us all up for failure and disappointment. I used to be very strict with Sofia about her behavior and decisions. She turned a little resentful and fearful toward my reaction when she would mess up. I did not want to be a grumpy mom, so I started to parent more intentionally and less emotionally. That turned out to be more difficult than I thought, but I work hard at it and we are much happier as a family.

The reality is, you’ll have good and bad days. That’s why it’s called a “challenge.” If you fail, you can always start over and try for a better outcome because we all know our kids will give us plenty of opportunities to make it right.

Daniella Guzman is the anchor on “Today in LA” weekday morning newscast, 4:307 a.m. A mother of two, Daniella’s column, On the Record, brings her views on parenting, fun family activities and her take on work-life balance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @daniellanbcla

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