Littlies can be very trying. That's their job. And as hard as it might be, it's important not to lose sight of the fact that they are still learning the boundaries, and need us to make those boundaries as clear, and as firm as possible. They will push but we, as the grown-ups, must try to maintain our composure, stand our ground, and teach them the rules. I hear you say, “Easier said than done sometimes!” So true. When you’ve heard yourself say the same thing over and over again with minimal results, how do you avoid frustration overload? Try these simple tools: 1. Make sure your kids know what is expected. Write (or draw) a short list for them of 3 or 4 things to focus on. Refer them back to the list when they get off track. 2. Time Outs are just as helpful for parents as children. Take a deep breath and leave the room if you have to. 3. Pick your battles. Don't sweat the small stuff. Is it really worth fighting over? Could you ignore or overlook this to avoid confrontation? 4. Consider what it is you're asking for. Remember what is age-appropriate, what is a reasonable expectation, and what the child can actually do. 5. TRY NOT TO SHOUT! Hard, but important. Unless it's an emergency, calmly tell them that their behaviour is inappropriate. Eye contact and an even tone work wonders. 6. Lastly, spend quality time with your kids, and invest in your relationship. Lots of cuddles and understanding is a strong foundation for when you need to play Bad Cop. You wouldn't want to upset someone who makes you happy, and neither would your littlies. It's as simple as that.