Just had one of those "Aha" moments where you feel like you're just getting everything right. Unfortunately it came after I got everything wrong.
I was doing a Hebrew reading activity with my 4.5 year old when she got totally frustrated and threw a major tantrum. Now I know many of you are going to"tsk-tsk" me for doing such an activity with my preschooler, but let's just put that aside for a minute.
Her lack of frustration control and inability to handle being wrong EVER really worries me and we continue to try different strategies to deal with this, but after the above fiasco occurred I did none of those productive things.
I yelled and said everything I should NOT have said. Of course this helped no one and her tantrum escalated.
Once I took some deep breaths, I walked into her room to console her with my tail between my legs and just held her until she relaxed.
Then the light bulb went off in my head.
I told her that we cannot continue this way and when she is starting to feel frustrated she has to let me know in a calm way.
Hence our red light/green light strategy:
We decided to leave out red, yellow, and green construction papers on the table while we do our school work.
We start with green on the table. Once she starts feeling frustrated, she puts out the yellow sheet. At that point she will ask for help or choose to pull out the red sheet to stop the activity completely.
It's the yellow zone that we so needed. It's the zone where she can take a step back and evaluate her feelings and the situation at large. Leading to a state where her feelings can be validated and she can end an activity calmly. Otherwise we are back to tantrum land where both of us are in a heated red zone and nobody's feelings are acknowledged.
We put our plan into action with a similar reading activity and it worked beautifully! She owned the activity, she owned her feelings, and our lesson went smoothly.
What started out as a terrible mom moment turned into an awesome teaching moment for us all.