You're Going to Want to Try Kate Middleton's Trick For Avoiding Tantrums
All over the globe, families have been staying closer to home together since roughly March, meaning many parents are going on over half of a year of quarantining in close proximity with their children. It's understandable that, when it comes to structure and discipline, plenty of parents have thrown up their hands. But fall brings new energy and perhaps motivation for wanting to get back on track, so who better to turn to for parenting tips than the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?
Although the royal children are taught to never tantrum, they are still children, and when they're out of line, Kate Middleton and Prince William reportedly have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Dr. Rebecca Chicot, founder of Essential Parent and the author of the Calm and Happy Toddler, previously explained to The Sun, “Kate is a sensitive and warm mum. She has a lovely balance of sensitivity and gentle boundaries. She doesn’t expect them to behave like little adults and knows that children go through perfectly natural stages like tantrums."
The Duchess will touch Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis on the head when they're misbehaving. This use of warmth and connection is effective at steering them in the right direction, explained Chicot.
And that gesture isn't the only way she can gently draw their attention to their behavior. She'll also get down to their level and talk to them quietly, which Chicot said "shows firmness and warmth—neither cajoling or getting angry."
One of the most applause-worthy tactics is the family's "chat sofa." A source explained to the Sun that "the naughty child is taken away from the scene of the row or disruption and talked to calmly by either Kate or William. Things are explained and consequences outlined and they never shout at them. Shouting is absolutely 'off-limits' for the children and any hint of shouting at each other is dealt with by removal."
The technique sounds quite a bit like "time-in," a positive parenting alternative to time-out which emphasizes connection versus isolation. "Research has shown that kids who feel connected to their parents are far more willing to follow their guidance," Bonnie Compton, a child and adolescent therapist, parenting coach, and author of Mothering With Courage tells Parents.com.
It's no surprise the couple has relied so heavily on techniques like the chat sofa that emphasize communication, self-awareness, and emotional connection over authoritarian discipline. The Cambridges' Royal Foundation supports a campaign called Heads Together, which was launched to try to change the U.K.'s national conversation on mental wellbeing and encourage people to talk to one another about their struggles openly.
In a column Middleton wrote for Huffington Post in 2016 (before the arrival of Prince Louis), she explained, "We hope to encourage George and Charlotte to speak about their feelings, and to give them the tools and sensitivity to be supportive peers to their friends as they get older. We know there is no shame in a young child struggling with their emotions or suffering from a mental illness."
Parents looking for even more tips for their little ones might want to check out the parenting books the Cambridges reportedly learned from, including Positive Discipline: The First Three Years and The Happiest Toddler on the Block.