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How To Deal With Children Behaving Defiantly

Good day everybody!

This week's Nanny Tip of the Week is all about how to deal with children behaving defiantly. Now, although there are many children are innocent and pure practically 100% of the time, I can venture to guess that there will likely be at least one experience where the child you are nannying shows some defiance. I have seen this with things as small as refusing to place dishes in the sink to full blown temper tantrums about refusing to give up the iPad. So, here are a few useful tips and resources for if you may be currently experiencing defiance or should any of this happen to you in the future:

1. Stop, Look and Listen - I know this phrase is most commonly used when teaching children to be aware before they cross the street, but I also like to use this phrase when dealing with stressful situations as well.

By STOPPING to take a deep breath, LOOKING and evaluating the situation at hand, and LISTENING to the child with what they have to say, you can immediately convey a calming, authoritative and non-threatening presence when dealing with defiance and the stress that goes along with it. I cannot stress enough how important it is to remain calm in these circumstances as their relationship with you and respect towards you can hinge on your reaction to their misbehavior.

2. Consider and choose your battles - You have been entrusted to care for your employer's children and hopefully you have already established ways to deal with their children when they misbehave, but oftentimes, it is important to be aware of the child and evaluating in what ways they are being defiant towards you. Is this a very minor issue that can be put on the back burner for the time being? Or is this truly an issue that needs to be dealt with now? I've certainly had times where there was SO much going on with the children's schedule (i.e. transporting the children to and from activities, making sure I have their lunch made on time, prepping the baby for naptime, etc.) that some issues truly can wait, so use your best judgment.

3. Stand your ground - The role of a nanny is so unique as it is often a combination of a caretaker, a nurturer, an employee and an added family member. However, establishing your role as one that is respected by children and recognized by your influence on them is also something I have found to be incredibly important when establishing boundaries. If you cave often and are very lenient with children when they misbehave, this gives the child the idea that you can (and very likely may) waver in your authority. So, in those moments when you are aiming to create a teaching moment with the child, be sure to stand your ground on times when their defiance gets out of hand. For example, if a child knows that you are going to give in and surrender the iPad if they cry and whine enough even though they have had all of their allotted screen time for the day, chances are they are going to do it again and again and again.

Stay strong and seek support from your employers! They can be your best allies when defiance arises.

I've also provided a couple of great articles that I also drew some of my inspiration from that address defiance specifically. Check them out for further reference!



Now, I'd like to hear from you readers: what other tips have worked for you with children acting defiantly? What tactic really didn't work and why? We would love to hear your feedback to share with our community of great nannies!

Best of luck and see you next week!

Samantha Carney