Curls (3 yr. old) got a prize that Princess (5 yr. old) wanted and Princess proceeded to pout about it. I explained that they could share and take turns with it. That went over fine, and then we left the classroom to head out to the van.
On the way out Princess sees her best friend (who's a boy... that she really likes), and she wanted to say hi to him. At the same time she dropped one of her prizes, one of those tiny bouncy balls (of course). It bounced away from her, and she immediately went into meltdown mode.
She recovered her ball but by then was so worked up that she couldn't say hi to her best friend. He had walked by right after it happened, probably seeing the whole thing, and meanwhile my daughter was hiding behind me because she didn't want anyone to see her (she gets like that when she's crying or upset).
So then we get to the van and she's in complete distress because she didn't get to say hi to her best friend. She cried and sniffled the whole way home. And even after getting home she was still upset and couldn't be consoled.
* * *Understanding that our kids are going to get stressed is important to remember as a parent. We have to use our "superpowers" to see into the future. We need to anticipate how they're going to react in a situation and try to avoid unnecessary stress.
In this situation I could've brought a bag for the girls to put their prizes in or carried the toys myself. Knowing that a toy in the hands of a child is more likely to be dropped and lost. Unfortunately though, you can't always avoid situations from happening... your child is still going to get stressed, and then they need to know how to handle it themselves.
I found some great articles from the following websites that talk about teaching your child how to deal with stress:
- Teach Kids How- Teach Your Child How to Deal with Stress
- Kids Health- Helping Kids Cope With Stress
- Center for Effective Parenting- Helping Children Cope with Stress