As parents, we love our children unconditionally, yet that does not mean that we don’t run into some daunting situations when our beloved toddler is on the verge of a major meltdown. Tantrums are at times inevitably a part of the growing pains in which your little one may not be able to articulate their needs yet or just have you in the mist of a straight power struggle. Let’s be honest, it is exhausting! Here are a few ways that I deal with my toddler’s tantrums that help keep my sanity on a day to day basis!
- Stay Calm
From the countless number of child development books I have read, and scouring the parenting chat rooms to gain knowledge from other’s shared experiences, staying calm is key. Your children act out for attention, and the kind you give them in the heat of a fit is really important, as they really don’t care if it is positive or negative. All they care about is that they are getting a reaction and/or attention from you. Which perpetually can cause them to continue to act out to receive that same attention. So I take a deep breath, use a normal tone and usually wait for Willow to realize she isn’t getting too much attention from me for her behavior.
Small children usually have small attentions spans. This is a hidden gem when your toddler decides to have a complete meltdown because they can’t hold that death trap of a knife, or climb over the railing of the stairs. Reasoning with Willow usually does not work for me with Willow when a tantrum is brewing. Diverting her attention to other items in the room or asking her questions about different topics until something sticks is how I avoid the screaming and the crying. If we are in the store, I try to distract her by asking her to help me pick out apples, or take her to the sushi counter to let her see the Chef make some rolls. It isn’t 100% effective, but it definitely helps me avoid a major scene.
Oh and let’s just talk about that scene! I read somewhere once that laughing it off, while your kid flails around on the ground is actually a great way to deal with tantrums. It doesn’t give the kids the attention they want. Yet most parents got nervous about what others would think about their child’s behavior to have that mentality. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that people do judge parent’s reaction to the meltdown, not your child’s actual tantrum. So laugh it off if you can, calmly wait for your child to come back around to reality, pick them up, hug them, talk about the crazy rant after the fact, and pat yourself on the back for being awesome (a glass of wine doesn’t hurt either).
3. Hug It Out
Finally, after your tiny human being returns to their adorable self. Hug it out and breathe a sigh of relief that we made it through the storm! I usually make one comment about how that wasn’t very fun, and try to positively reinforce her good behavior. I really think Willow shows her anger at the beginning of the tantrum, and then I see it go away when she starts crying because I honestly think she feels herself losing control of her emotions. At times this can be a lot for a 2 year old, and if I really take as step back to look at how adults go through life, we still have meltdowns too! Remember these are milestones in your child’s development and they will pass. So even after that wailing, flailing, screaming and God knows what else, you still love them and its best to show it.
These are ways that I deal with my daughter and her ever-growing, independent self. How do you deal with your toddler’s emotions?? I would love to hear!
Photo Credit: Kate Hauschka Photography