Yesterday Kaylee threw a huge screaming fit about going to dance class. She’d stayed up late the two nights before, so I could tell she was tired, but I also know that she loves dance class, and once she got in the class, she’d be fine. I was bringing my friend’s daughter also, so I left Kaylee screaming, still buckled in her car seat, while I brought the other girl in and put her tap shoes on her. It helped that I got a parking spot right in front of the school.
I managed to get Kaylee to stop screaming enough to come inside and sit watching the class from the window in the hallway. A few moms emphathized with me about her stubbornness and lack of cooperation. I admitted I was mostly annoyed because I had wanted to go get a cup of coffee. One of the moms offered to watch Kaylee, so I left. On my way out, I asked another teacher to try to persuade Kaylee to join the class in my absence.
Of course, when I got back, Kaylee was not only in the classroom, she was participating and having a great time.
I’ve learned with both my kids and even our cat that they like an audience. Once my husband and I leave the room, the kids pretty quickly give up their tantrums. They’ll allow themselves to be distracted and reasoned with.
I’ve had a few friends who changed swim schools before because they didn’t like it when the instructors sometimes asked the parents to leave the pool area if their kids were crying. I prefer a pool where the instructors are experienced and comfortable with comforting kids who are upset and secure enough to ask the parents to leave.
Kaylee once threw a fit at a swim school, and we literally put her screaming and kicking in the arms of the instructor, and walked out. He laid her on his back for the whole class. He would teach another kid, teach her for a couple of minutes, then put her back on his back when it was another kid’s turn. She fell in love with that guy.
As parents we feel that we should be responsible for our kids most if not all of the time, and that no one can comfort them like we can. That’s certainly true sometimes, but it’s also very important for kids to have other adults they can trust. Every teacher and parent does things a little differently, and kids pay special attention to anything that’s new or different. They learn that there’s many different ways of following the rules and getting along with people.
I think surrounding my kids with other trustworthy adults can help them feel part of a larger community. I want them to be careful and aware of danger, but I do want them to grow up overall feeling safe.
Do you feel comfortable leaving your kids with other adults when they’re upset?