By now, if you have been following our discussion about temperament issues, you have realized the depth of the topic. We continue discussion today with strategies to help children who are moody.
What to do about moody children
I’ve heard it so many times. This child is so moody. It seems like no matter what we are doing, our child tends to find the downside and is upset and anxious most of the time.
What does a caregiver do for such a child?
But a negative mood is not always the issue. Some children are extremely positive in their mood to such a degree that is too optimistic for the reality of the situation. Here are some ideas as to what caregivers can do to help children who have these temperamental characteristics.
For children who tend to be negative in their mood:
- Help the child see the positive. Show him what he can do, not what he cannot do.
- Notice the child’s distress and attend to it because this may reduce the general negative mood.
- Increase situations the child finds positive and keep negative activities brief and predictable.
- Teach good manners and appropriate ways to express anger and frustrations.
- Practice seeing both sides of a situation with the child
- Give the child a short time-out as a way to calm down when he becomes very upset.
- Provide a lot of opportunities for joyful, fun activities the child enjoys.
- Try to reduce the number of triggers that are known to lead to a tantrum.
- Reduce the number of transitions or changes in routines if possible if they can lead to a meltdown.
For children who are on the extreme side of a positive mood
- Enjoy it
- Help the child to be a little more cautious about people and teach her some safeguards to protect against her tendency to be too trusting or to make quick positive evaluations that might not be true of people and situations.
- Don’t overreact when the generally positive child is in a bad mood. Understand that all children have bad moods sometimes.
- Let the child know that you really appreciate her good nature and positive mood. Be careful not to label the child as “the one always in a good mood,” however. She may feel pressured to always be happy.
Understanding the need to adjust to temperament
These are just a few ideas that may help with some of the frustrating moments in caring for a significantly moody child or in protecting the positive child who may feel pressured to be that happy all the time. It is vital that we adjust our approach so that these tendencies are managed with a lot of nurture and support. We want our children to have the freedom to grow in healthy ways as they move through their developmental and temperamental changes.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network
Source: Information taken from Pathways to Competence, Encouraging Healthy Social and Emotional Development in Young Children, Second Edition by Sarah Landy, pp 54-55.