1. Just say "boo!" (or sometimes hi)
Sometimes my kids ('specially the attachment challenged one) are reluctant to make eye contact when I'm trying to talk to them. So, I wait and wait and wait and then I finally see those little peepers! And truly at this point I just want to say what I wanted to say so that I can move on and do something else. But if I actually try to start talking at this point then they're just going to look away and potentially flop onto the floor and then I might as well just settle in for the night. And so when I finally see that they're making eye contact I say, "boo!" or sometimes "Hi" and I smile. And it throws them off track because apparently they still think there is a possibility that I'm going to devour them headfirst if they look at me and then when I just say something totally innocuous it crosses off that initial freak out and we're able to proceed with a minimum of drama.
2. Say What They Say
We don't leave Boohoo's door completely open at naptime or bedtime. Her preference is for the door to be totally open, but if we leave it open she can see directly into the boys' room and can see Pickle in his bed and they just shout at each other. I can't move Pickle's bed because I need to be able to see into his room from my room so that I can make sure he's not climbing out of his bed. So we prop Boohoo's door partially open and every time she would start to cry that she wanted the door open. I would point out, "It is a little bit open and a little bit closed" and I would pop my head in and out of her room thus demonstrating my point. She didn't care because all she heard was the last thing that I said, "closed". And then one night my latent genius came out and I said, I'm sure with total grace and no frustration, "Look! It's a little bit closed and a little bit open!" And she stopped crying and laid down and was quiet because the last thing she heard was OPEN. And hallelujah there was peace in the kingdom and sure, we still go through the drama--every single nap and bedtime-- and that's super annoying, but at least we're understanding each other and not fighting about it and she feels heard.
3. Roomtime Transitions
I think that most parents experience the frustration that is coming home after being away from home with small kids. It's CHAOS here. They fight, everyone needs something, wants something, and they whine and fight and are constantly underfoot. My kids go nuts when we come back home. They're easily overwhelmed by all the stimulation that is a store/running errands and then carrying stuff inside and then all the choices that are in our house, and they've got all this stress to expend and when left to their own devices they self-combust while I try to simultaneously put out all their fires. Now? I eliminate their victims and their choices. Peanut and Boohoo each go to their room to play and Pickle stays in the playroom. It is working SO well. They do a great job of playing in their room for 20-30 minutes! They play with the quiet toys in their room, they listen to music/audiobooks, and without even realizing it they're self-regulating! I'm self-regulating during this time too, the difference is that I know it.
That's all I've got three little ideas that are helping me out. Maybe they'll help you! Maybe you have an idea to help me! Let's hear it.