Are you an “angry mom” or “angry dad”? It’s okay: kids kind of suck sometimes. (I almost burned down my parents’ house with “science experiments” a truly unforgivable number of times as a kid.) But if you find yourself yelling at your children more than you’re comfortable with, the blogger Idealist Mom came up with this great parenting hack that will get you behaving more sweetly to your kids. And all you need is five hair ties.
The idea is this: each day, you wear five hair ties (or rubber bands) on one of your wrists. If you yell at your child or are unkind in some way, you move one of the hand ties to the other wrist. The goal is not to move any of the hand ties to the other wrist, but if you slip up, you have to do five kind, loving things with your child to make up for the one outburst. “For every bad reaction, it takes five positive reactions to regain a positive relationship,” said one Idealist Mom reader, Shauna Harvey, in a viral Facebook post.
But what do you do to make up for an outburst? Idealist Mom has a few downloadable sheets with ideas—they’re tasks as simple as responding to a child with a hug, telling them a joke, or asking them how they’re feeling.
After Harvey’s post went viral, Parents.com interviewed Kelly Holmes, the mom-of-three behind Idealist Mom, about the response to her rubber band trick. She revealed she’s still using those hair ties. “The hair tie hack is still working its magic for me,” she said. “More than 500,000 parents have read that post so far, so every day I hear more and more stories from other parents about how the hair ties have helped them get a handle on their temper and tone.”
“As parents, we crave a healthy, connected relationship with our little ones,” Holmes said. “But in the chaos of modern parenting life, we can get frustrated easily and that puts a strain on our relationship with our kids. The hair ties are a simple, visible reminder to catch ourselves before we get off track. And because we’re human, it’s possible to ‘earn’ the hair ties back to repair the relationship after we slip up.”