Are you a victim of your toddler tantrum?
A small confession over here, before becoming a mother I use to look at kids and think to myself that ‘I will ensure I discipline my kid and my kid will never turn out like this’ little did I know that I was wrong as I have one that’s is exactly like this!
So, coming back to the situation at hand …. Do you also feel helpless when your toddler doesn’t get his ways and they roll the floor, screams, kicks and cries nonstop? Yes, it happens to me as well. Although I have been reading the highly acclaimed “How to talk so kids will listen and listen, so kids will talk” but sometimes I also get overwhelmed and helpless, to be honest. So, for those who haven’t read the book, I would definitely suggest to go and read the book right away. I am no expert, but I feel armed with knowledge and a few trial and error one can manage meltdowns.
So, I am listing down my 10 #momhacks to tame the toddler tantrum over here:-
1. First of all, don’t get frazzled – your kid is not bad as he is just acting his age and tantrums are pretty much a part and parcel of his growing up. So, mommies and daddies stay calm when your lil one is having a meltdown. Sit beside him or give him a hug. Don’t lose your cool and start reasoning or yelling at him coz at this time he may not be able to hear any kind of reasoning. Yelling too will make matters worse as the kid will try to match your pitch and he would get wild if you are shouting at him. If you feel super frustrated, go out of the room for a few minutes calm yourself down but do come back otherwise the kid will feel abandoned
2. Stick to a schedule – kids like to be on schedule whether it’s for food or for naps. So, make sure you don’t disturb their schedule. When they are hungry and sleepy then god save you as they have zero tolerance for anyone and anything in the world. So, plan your day keeping in their schedules at all times
3. Anticipate their tantrum triggers– prepare the kid for what is expected of them next. Like after the bath, we will eat and go to school in the car. So, this way they are not in for any surprise. You are managing their behaviour by telling them in advance. For example, tell them that its lunch time and for lunch, we have a mac and cheese and post that we will take a nap and then go out in the evening to meet his friends in the park. So, what we are doing here is talking them through their entire routine so that they are aware of what is expected of them next!
4. Give undivided attention and reward their good behaviour – Parents keep aside some time to give your kids undivided attention and keep appreciating their good behaviour. Kids love attention and it’s our responsibility to give time to the kids and bond with them so that we are more attuned to their demands n future. Reward them for their small acts of good behaviour
5. Identify their feelings – I try to remind lil P about Daniel tigers episode of using his words. He has seen it and this helps most of the times. Also talk to him about the angry face, upset face, happy face etc and ask the kid to use the words to express his feelings. It is a process and will take time but the minute the toddler tries to put a name to his feeling he'll be able to internalise his feeling better and express it. For example, Are you feeling upset about the broken crayons? Mommy knows that you are upset coz of that but let’s try to be more careful next and if you are more careful in future mommy will buy you a new set of crayons when we go to the mall'. So instead of belittling their feelings try to empathise with them and give names to their feelings. This will help the kids to channelize their anger in a better way.
6. Help them to work through their feeling: - This helps giving kids the control of the situation so that they can work through their problems. So, a typical conversation like “Can I get a Batman toy.” No, you have many such toys and I am not buying any toys for you. Now as an adult probably you can anticipate that after saying no, the kid will now throw a fit. So, you can add in by saying that I know you feeling sad about the fact that I’m not buying you a toy but don’t worry I will write down on a paper as things lil P wants and then buy him later. Cmon tell me what all toys u want from mommy? Can we make a list and then buy later? Ok?"Now, this conversation right here has given a direction to his thoughts and the fact that mommy acknowledges his feelings gives a sense of relief to the kid and willing to reach mid-You can suprise them later by buying few toys from the wishlist
7. Direct their anger – Direct the kids pent-up anger in a positive way. Give them crayons or paints and ask them to draw how they are feeling if they are angry. Few activities like tearing paper, counting 1 to 10, breathing techiques can be taught to the kid to direct their temper in a more positive direction
8. Change the topic: toddlers have very less attention span. So, take advantage of that and try changing the topic. Even a change of environment helps. If it is public space, then try leaving the place with the kid and show them something else. Sometimes a change of the topic or activity really helps in diverting their attention
9. Talk about it afterwards – Once the tantrum is under control, try talking about it to your kid. The things which you were unable to say when he was having a meltdown can be addressed by giving him a huge hug and simply talking to him after it. This may help in averting a similar situation afterwards
10. Last but not the least never cave into their demands even though it’s a public place. If the kid can intimidate you with their tantrum and crying, then they would do it again and again. It is a stressful and embarrassing situation when done in public and sometimes parents to save themselves from all the trouble give in to the demands but in this way, we are doing more harm than good coz this will give the child an idea to continue this kind of behaviour in future. They will think“mom buys me toys when I cry sometimes so maybe I should cry louder and I get the toys that I want" Not a great situation, right? Hence be firm and calm and try not get bow down to your tyrant toddler!
Let me know how you deal with tantrums? Will be happy to add in more pointers