This was posted by a FB page that I follow and after reading just a few, I think I will have to implement a few.
If you have come to a point in a challenging situation with your child where you feel that the only thing left to do is to yell at or strike your child, step away from the child.
Here are 101 things you can do instead of yelling or spanking:
1. Take a parental time-out.
2. Call for help from a friend or family member (ask them to give you an immediate break if possible).
3. Pile everyone in the car and drive to the park (or anywhere – just go for a change of scenery).
4. Sing a silly song about how angry you are.
5. Do jumping jacks.
6. Draw your feelings out.
7. Make yourself your favorite snack.
8. Write down 3 instances when you felt intense love for your child.
9. Clean out your clothes closet and set aside a bag for Goodwill (now would probably not be a good time to do this with the kids’ toys).
10. Change the subject – come back to it when you and your child are calmer.
12. Practice progressive relaxation.
13. Act like animals: stomp like an elephant, growl like a lion, etc.
14. Run around the house (or around the block if your children have alternate childcare).
15. Do a load of laundry.
16. Set out clothes for the kids for the next week (or do some other task that will pay off later).
17. Release tension: shake your shoulders, roll your neck, etc.
18. Count to 100. Out loud. In a robot voice.
19. Immerse yourself in an easy craft project.
20. Dust off the hedge clippers and trim your trees or other landscaping.
21. If your child allows it, give him a huge hug and tell him you love him.
22. Scream into a pillow.
23. Bake cookies (with help from your child), bring some to a neighbor or your local fire department.
24. Dance to your favorite song.
25. Instead of yelling at your kids to do something, act out your request in a game of charades or pictionary.
26. Pluck your eyebrows.
27. Clean out the refrigerator.
28. Bang your head – to some loud music.
29. Write down the angry words you could have said, then rip the paper up and throw it away.
30. Do some yoga.
31. Rearrange the furniture.
32. Make a list of the many reasons you love your child.
33. Wash the car by hand.
34. Laugh in as many different ways as you can think of (think Mary Poppins).
35. Take everyone and go sit in a car wash. Choose the option for colored soap.
37. Call a friend who supports gentle discipline (think about finding a “gentle discipline partner” who you can talk to anytime you feel the urge to yell or spank).
38. Fall down theatrically on the floor. Lie there long enough to collect yourself.
39. Pay bills.
40. Keep a roll of tape handy – use it on your mouth.
41. Squeeze a stress ball.
42. Recite multiplication tables.
43. Stand as silent and still as possible.
44. Paint your nails.
45. Do 25 sit-ups.
46. Finish a task you’ve been putting off.
47. Listen to an audio book.
48. Take a bubble bath.
49. Ask a silly question. Ask another.
50. Take a walk around your neighborhood or a park and clean up the trash.
51. Run up and down the stairs.
52. Paint on different mediums (paper, rocks, your windows, etc.).
53. Write a story using only 100 words.
54. Cook a meal for the freezer.
55. Look at pictures of your child when she was a baby.
56. Play Solitaire (or whatever game strikes your fancy).
57. Brew some of your favorite tea or coffee. Have a tea party.
58. Sweep, vacuum, or mop.
59. Learn something new online.
60. Play with Playdough or clay.
61. Put a movie on for the kids; have sex with your partner.
62. Take a shower.
63. Organize meal plans for the next week. Or month. Or year.
64. Set up an obstacle course for you and your kids to do (inside or out).
65. Instead of shouting something angrily, shout “I love you!!”
66. Make up a rhyme about how much you love your child. Recite it while standing on your head.
67. Play ball (basketball, throw a tennis ball against a wall, play catch with someone, etc.).
68. Take artsy pictures.
69. Make a PostSecret postcard.
70. Pull weeds.
71. Decoupage something.
72. Blow bubbles.
73. Make a list of “things I would rather do than engage in power struggles with my child.”
74. Trade roles with your child: pretend you are the little, and she is the adult.
75. Reorganize a closet or cabinet.
76. Roll around on an exercise ball.
77. Make bread or pizza dough (the kind you have to knead).
78. Form a drum circle: everyone grab a drum or a pot, and start playing.
79. Build a tower out of books (or anything handy). Knock it down.
80. Gather the kids for a nature walk around the block.
81. Have a few funny videos saved on YouTube to watch when you need a break.
82. Take silly pictures of yourself. Invite your child to help.
83. Ask your Facebook or Twitter friends to tell you a joke.
84. Scrub the shower.
85. Write a poem (it doesn’t have to be a good one).
86. Send postcards to random people.
87. Make a silly (and unrelated) announcement. (“For the rest of the day, everyone must hop on one foot when moving about the house!”)
88. Make funny faces. Tell your child that no matter what, they must not laugh.
89. Turn on a videocamera. Turn the opportunity into one of love and connection that you can be proud of later.
90. Play an instrument.
91. Take the family to a park with sidewalk chalk: write/draw inspirational messages/pictures.
92. Learn how to say a few words in another language (ASL, Spanish, etc.).
94. Jump rope.
95. Do something nice for someone else. (Involve your child if he wants to help.)
96. Write your feelings down on paper.
97. Meditate or pray.
98. Hug your child’s teddy bear or doll and talk about how much you love your child (while your child is watching, if you’d like).
99. Look into a mirror and realize what your child is seeing when you are angry.
100. Remember your child is young, and innocent, and loves you, and needs to trust you.
101. Take a minute to calm down and breastfeed your child. (It’s hard to be angry at a child who is nursing, plus the act of breastfeeding releases hormones that will help calm both of you down.)
The bottom line is to not scream at or hit your child. It’s ok to step away from the situation or to defuse a fight by using laughter or love instead of instantly turning to discipline or punishment. If you are trying to “teach” your child something, she will not learn when you are approaching her with anger – whether it is in your voice or in your hand. All she will feel is fear.
Talk about it when both you and your child are calm. Chances are, you will both feel better about the outcome.
What do you do when you need a moment to compose yourself?