Validate feelings (as ridiculous as they may seem) and state why they are upset. “You are so (sad/mad) your favorite nightgown is in the wash and you can’t wear it.” Let them have their big feelings while you remain calm and in control. Offer comfort, but don’t try control it or hold them down. If they are safe, it is ok to walk away and let them know you will check on them in a little bit. This is not the time to solve the problem!
Make a clear routine and post it visually. Take time for training and practice. Include short connecting activity (game, puzzle, song) in addition to books. Let kids have flashlights and be able to look at books or play with a couple toys in bed after you say goodnight.
Intervene immediately and get below their eye level. State firmly “we only use safe hands” and staying with the child who hit, address the hurt child’s needs together. “We are gentle with our friends. Let’s ask if he’s ok and how we can fix it.” Teach alternatives to hitting: how to ask for a turn, deep breaths, walking away, taking a break, playing with something else.
At dinner let them choose the veggie (in addition to your complete meal). Teach them to take an adventure bite of each food item. Then, teach to say “no thank you” if they do not want to eat any more. Offer them the one and only (the same each time) alternative to dinner (e.g. yogurt).