1st - REGULATE YOURSELF
This is about staying calm and handling the current situation in the face of stress, chaos, upset and tears. When a child is feeling BIG feelings such as anger, frustration, fear or overwhelm, they are going to express this in a variety of ways that are usually unpleasant. It is our job as the adult to ensure that the child's expression does not effect our emotional stability. In order to do so, remember not to take the child's expression of that big feeling personally - even if it is directed right at you. Remain neutral and calm so that YOU can stay regulated and then assist the child in regulating themselves.
It can be really easy to get 'triggered' when a child is screaming, yelling and lashing out at us. It stirs something deep inside of us and we often ask 'how can this little person be so disrespectful and ungrateful?' This is the moment when we tend to REACT to what is going on at the surface level and set the record straight. Try to avoid this at all costs because it is NOT what is really going on!! Think of it as a trap and once you take the bait, there's no coming out of it in a positive, calm or functional way. I encourage anyone faced with a challenging situation to not only stay regulated and calm (see point #1) but also to RESPOND to what is going on within your child such as fatigue, hunger, stress, insecurity, overwhelm or fear.
It's easy to connect and engage with a child when they are happy and calm and when we are happy and calm. However, what about connection during times of distress and upset? Do you normally get upset yourself or even leave the situation because it's all just too much? The key to deeply connecting with a child is to do so when they are at their utmost distress. Their worst of the worst. Sticking around and staying calm/neutral when someone is losing their cool is one of the hardest things to do but one of the most important. By doing this, we are communicating with the child that we truly have 'their back' and that they are worthy of us (the adult) facing the challenge together with them.