11 Tips for Dealing with Grumpy Children

Your cheerful "Good morning!" is met with a frown. Your kiddo complains about any type of breakfast you offer him. The least little thing makes your daughter cry. Or throw a temper tantrum. Or start World War Three. These are The Really Hard Days of dealing with grumpy children - and every mom has experienced them. But there are ways to deal with grumpy kids and get through the day with your sanity in tact:

1. Find at least 5 minutes to tuck yourself away from the kids to pray and read a little of the Bible. Put the kids in front of the television for a few minutes if you have to - because you especially need to focus on God on Really Hard Days.

2. Set aside your plans. Your children are going to need more of your attention than usual, so don't focus on housework or other chores, and try to cancel appointments.

3. Give your children lots of cuddles, hugs, and smiles. Even if they act like they don't want them.

4. Read to your children. If they will cuddle on the couch with you, that's great. But if that causes squabbling, set them on the floor with something to color or draw while you read.

5. Play soothing music. Something like Hide 'Em in Your Heart is perfect. Or maybe some classical music.

6. Take baths. Water is very soothing to many children. Give them each a bath - by themselves - and see if they don't feel better.

7. If it's sunny, make sure the windows are uncovered. Open some windows or doors to let in fresh air. If it's a dark day, turn on some lights. If you can get your child to read, color, do puzzles, or do some other activity under a bright lamp, all the better. If it's near the end of the day, dim the lights.

8. Remove clutter. If the house is a cluttered mess, it's stressful, and that's not going to help anyone on a Really Hard Day. Take a few minutes to pick up.

9. Get moving. If you can, go outdoors and encourage your kids to run or do other vigorous activities. If you must remain indoors, try jumping to upbeat music.

10. Avoid the television. Yes, I know. On Really Hard Days it's easier to set the kids in front of the TV. But the fact remains that TV time tends to lead to poorer behavior in your children. At the very least, postpone TV time until late in the day.

11. End the day well. You may be ever-so-anxious for bedtime, but don't let that make you rush through it. Make sure your children receive your full attention during tucking in. Read. Cuddle. Pray together about the day, asking for tomorrow to be happier. Then kiss them goodnight.

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