If you have a little one, then you know by now any cut that draws blood can be the onset of serious and unnecessary drama. Having four kids, I have learned some great techniques over the years that may help when you are confronted with your next drop of blood that brings 10 times the tears. These tips range from basic to bizarre…so read on, mom! Somewhere in here is a possible solution to downsizing drama (always a good thing!)
For the record, the following advice is not for huge wounds that need serious medical care. In addition, none of this replaces immediate sympathy and love. When a child comes to us bawling with a real pain, it should not be discounted. All parents should consider safety first and aim to clean the wound immediately. Second, kindness teaches our children mercy. The famous “boo-boo” is a great opportunity to show mercy.
Still, some kids can carry-on well beyond the pain. This is when the following steps are most helpful!
1. Don’t over react. Modern medicine is awesome and most cuts and scrapes never go beyond a little attention. The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be. Screaming, “OH MY GOSH! LOOK AT ALL THAT BLOOD!” isn’t really helping anyone.
2. Immediately move to action. If your child is bleeding, it is time to move. Sitting on the couch saying, “Go get the Band-Aids.” Isn’t nice. Giving them merit right away will curb the drama faster because they won’t be pleading for you to care with louder crying. (Common sense, right? Hopefully.)
3. Always have a Band-Aid, wherever you are. For 99 cents, you can buy an extra box of bandages and you should. Put several Band-Aids everywhere you could possibly be, so one is always handy: the diaper bag, your purse, the glove compartment in the car, your husband’s wallet, your desk, the kitchen, the bathroom. The simple act of having the right thing to get the tiny wound out of site is a huge win!
4. Do not allow the child to stare at the wound. Divert their attention immediately to helping, your next step, a stuffed animal, blanket, or drink.
5. Educate: explain that blood rushes to cuts to clean them. Education helps reduce fear. After telling a child the simple fact that blood is helping clean the wound, say “Look! It is already healing. Your body is so smart!” Helping your child to understand that what has happened is normal and natural is educating them and reducing fear.
6. Count. Counting backwards or forwards is a huge methodical calming tool. The rhythmic, monotone count helps give a child a point to STOP the crying. Say, “I will count until this is cleaned up. Let’s see how long it takes. One, Two…” Even if the child is still crying after 10, say, “There we go. Clean. Healing. All done.” They may continue crying, but at least they will know it is supposed to be over. Have them count with you.
7. Tell a wild tale. Telling a story of a time when you were hurt can be distracting. Be sure to add wild details, like, “A dog saw the whole thing. I think the dog’s name was Chauncey.”
8. Ask Questions. Questioning is a great distraction. Tell your child the plan. Say, I am going to ask you some questions while I clean this up, you answer. “What is your favorite color? What is your favorite food? What do birds eat? What is your favorite shirt?” Make the questions easy. If your child is too worked up and not answering, keep asking…they may jump in “the game” sooner than you think. This gets your child thinking of something else.
9. Talk and don’t stop. As a parent, your child will listen, even though crying. Listen carefully to when they specifically quiet or lull out in the tantrum. It is then that you may be saying something that strikes a chord and gets their attention. Bingo. Stick with that train of thought to maintain the diversion.
10. Dance the Boo Boo Dance. If you don’t know one, make it up. Kids are a great audience because anything goes. In addition, most kids rarely see their mother dance and will stop to watch it. Tell them, “When this is all cleaned up, I am going to do the most amazing dance…called The Boo Boo Dance.” Make the dance ridiculous and sing a silly song about Boo Boos while you do it. “My Boo Boo has a Band-Aid and my mommy is so sweet.” You got it, make it up. Repeat the same line over and over if you have to. Kids love repetition. Hopefully, in the end, you will get a smile.
11. If all of this fails, you may want to consider just crying with them!