Dear Sara, I am a stay at home Mom…

Dear Sara,

I am a stay at home Mom with 2 preschoolers, ages 3 and 4.  They  are constantly fighting and I end up screaming at them.  I feel frustrated, angry and I’m really tired.

 What can I do to keep them from fighting and get a break?

Amanda

Dear Amanda,
Being a stay at home Mom is not an easy job, especially if you are fairly isolated.  You also sound like you could be experiencing some depression.

Sometimes kids figure out that they get more attention from Mom if they make lots of noise and hit each other.  Kids want and need attention and will go to great lengths to get it.  If you are frustrated and maybe depressed, they are experiencing your feelings and are probably acting out more.

At this age your best bet is to separate them and put them in time out for 5 minutes.  The rule is no
fighting and the consequence is (that they need to hear ahead of time) “no fighting or 5 minutes time out.”  Getting upset and screaming is kind of a payoff for them so try to keep calm if you can.  It may be upsetting to you because you let it go on too long.  Provide the consequences as soon as they start.

See if you can find some way to get a break.  If your husband is home in the evenings, you might want to consider joining an exercise class that meets once or twice a week.  It will help you let off steam and relax and be good for you physically.  If you determine that you are depressed, you might want to make an appointment with your family physician to see if you need some medication.  He could also check to see if anemia is making you tired.

Your kids will be grown up and gone before you know it.  Try to enjoy them while they are still little.

Sara

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