Tired of yelling at the kids? Try this mum's simple hair band trick

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 Photo: iStock

There's no doubt about it, kids can test a parent's patience at the best of times, and yelling is a habit many of us fall into.

Now one mum says her simple trick, using hair bands, has led to greater awareness around her emotions - and could be the trick to increasing family harmony for many.

While acknowledging that being "an angry mum" is sometimes just part of the gig, blogger Kelly's defining moment came one day after tripping over shoes that had been left in the hallway.

"Something about the preschooler-ness of my preschooler was turning me into an angry mother every time I opened my mouth to talk to her. I needed help," she wrote.

She decided visual cues were going to be the key and started researching effective ones. "Visual cues are a powerful science-backed tool that will remind you to avoid a bad habit when you're most likely to slip back into it," she says

'For example, if you were trying to eat healthier, you could leave a bright Post-It Note on the fridge to remind yourself that "Snack = veggies only."'

Kelly decided to use five hair bands as her visual cues in getting her emotions under control. Every morning she places five hair bands on her wrist; each time she yells or becomes impatient with her children, she moves one hair band to the other wrist.

You then 'earn back' the bands by finding ways to reconnect with your child. Kelly refers to a strategy called the 5:1 Ratio, where for every negative interaction, you make the effort to have five positive ones. When reconnection has taken place, you have then earned back a hair tie, with the aim that at the end of the day, all five are on the original wrist.

It's a noble aim and certainly not one we are knocking, but it has be asked asked if this would be achievable in many homes. It's a level of self-awareness that requires sustained time and commitment, and like all those half-filled in star charts, would it just add to a sense of failure within a couple of days?

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But Kelly says the secret is to make sure you don't have them on all the time. You need to only put the hair bands on your wrist when the kids are awake and around you - that way you don't become used to them and stop seeing them.

Kelly says that for her, it worked immediately. That first morning, she didn't lose her cool at all because of those hair ties. A bit later she did express anger, but was "highly motivated to move that hair tie back to the other wrist, so we repaired the damage quickly."

"'All I'd needed was a little nudge to jolt myself out of that angry mother habit," she said.

And it's still working. "Months later, the hair tie trick is still working wonders. I talk to my preschooler with love and kindness in my voice instead of annoyance and frustration."

If you have the time and inclination, give it a go and let us know if you stuck to it.