(picture from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Happy_child.jpg)
1. Keep in mind that many times criticism stems out of not feeling good about oneself. And so many of these tips are about getting your own world in order, so that you can feel good about others.
2. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep.
3. Eat nutritious foods and try to avoid junk. Exercise!
4. Carve out a specific time for yourself for alone time each day.
5. Make sure you are having time each day to commune with God through prayer or scriptures or however you do it. (This can be difficult with little ones, but it, and number 4 are extremely important even if it is only 10 minutes. I think this tip helps a lot!)
6. Keep this mantra in your head, "Teach, don't criticize. Remember that you are "working with" your kids, not against them.
7. Listen listen, listen, before you speak. Find out what the real problem is first.
8. Go somewhere and calm down if you are angry. Then talk about it with the person after you think about what the real problem is.
9. If you do have to give a consequence, give it in private. Avoid shaming in front of others.
10. Simplify your life, so that you are not overwhelmed.
These tips have really helped me to keep calm and not criticize. I hope they will help you too keep a strong relationship with your children!