Tips for Taming Tantrums {+Tuesday’s Toddler Tales linky}

The deer plate, I want the deer plate, whines my gorgeous little 3 year old {<—–when did that happen, 3?}!  No, I want the deer plate, not this deer plate, that deer plate, the one that Charlie happens.  


We have all been there, haven’t we?!  The dreaded tantrum.  Bonus points if they do it while you are out at the store and everybody is watching to see how you react.  Getting through these tantrums can be almost as hard/just as hard/harder on the parent than on the kid, because we, as adults, have to be the rational one and help end the tantrum.


To help your child calm down, it will help to know what is causing it in the first place.  Are they overtired?  Do they feel you made an unfair decision?   Do they just want attention?   I think this is one of my favorite sayings:

My child is not being difficult, she/he is having a difficult time.  


You will hear Maggie say it a lot to me, “Mommy, I am having a tough day.  I need a hug.”  When she has a day that involves lots of tantrums, that is what I always say, you are having a tough day, aren’t you.  I really like that she can put words to it now, it helps a ton!

Tips for Taming Tantrums, Tuesday's Toddler Tales

The key to getting young kids to stop having their tantrum, is to first, just get them to calm down.  This will likely be the hardest part for you as the parent.  Each child is different as to what helps them calm down. Your instincts may be to try to explain the situation to them, which may not work while they are in the throws of the tantrum.  For my kids, hugging seems to work wonders!  Once they are calm, you can talk out the situation with them.


What has seemed to be the absolute, fastest, simplest way to end the screaming/crying immediately is the “did you see that bird” “do you hear the dog” “where did that bunny go” or any other similar statement made to distract your child.  My kids LOVE animals, we live in the country, and that sort of statement is so believable that the kids fall for it almost every single time.  Once they have stopped to look, we look for a minute, decide the animal must have hid somewhere, and by then, we have both had the chance to take a few breaths.  I can be a good mom, talk calmly and move forward, hopefully resolving the situation.  Now is my chance to first and most importantly, hug my child and tell her I love her {or him}.  Then, I can ask her what was making her upset.  Maggie is old enough to tell me with words.

Maggie and Charlie crying, Tuesday's Toddler Tales, Taming Toddler Tantrums

Angel Bear Yoga that we reviewed awhile back has really been a lifesaver.  When Maggie is really worked up, you know, the kind when they can’t calm down to even spit out the words they are trying to say?  In the yoga video, they do things, poses, and say things like, I’m bringing listening into my heart.  We modify it a bit and say, I’m bringing peace into my heart, and repeat it a few times.  It allows her to calm herself.  The best part of this, she can do this completely on her own to calm down!  I may do it one time to remind her, but she generally does it on her own to calm herself.  Believe me, there are times when bringing peace into my heart is a very good idea!!!!


Have a quiet basket, corner, etc.  I found this pin that visually shows your child the things they can do while they try to calm down.  Often times, a tantrum erupts from a decision, you, the parent made.  This entire quiet down concept gives them the decision making power.  Again, giving you time to calm down before responding.


I have heard, but not tried this next concept – reacting in the crazy manner they are behaving – hands waving wildly, voice loud, repeating that you hear what they are saying, you know they are mad, etc..  It seems to me a bit like a distraction technique, but again, haven’t tried it.  I’ve heard people talk about how great it works for them though.


The most important part though, is to stay calm yourself.  Remember, your child is watching and listening to how you handle this situation.  They are learning whether yelling and screaming is acceptable or not.  They are learning how to be calm and respectful when they are upset and this can help them throughout their life!


It’s important to remember to reinforce the positive behavior, not the negative.  So while you have to deal with the situation, and yet you want them to know that behavior isn’t acceptable.  That is why I make sure my kids are calm before I discuss it with them.  Whether it is, I know you want that snack, but we will be having dinner soon; or I know you wanted to climb into your carseat by yourself, but I asked you to get in and you chose to do xyz instead so I had to help you.  Next time, I hope you remember to climb up when it is time to go so you can do it yourself.  {Yep, that’s a real battle that happens on occasion}.  If  Maggie is having a lot of tantrums, as she has been lately, I make sure to really pay attention and comment on her good behavior, whether sharing a toy with her brother, putting her toys away, practicing drawing letters, or whatever it may be.  I know Maggie has not been getting the attention she needs lately because Charlie has been teething and demanding my attention.  Finding small moments to really focus on her has really helped.


Keep in mind as I write this, in no way do I think I’m an expert, or a perfect parent.  I screw up.   A lot.  And when I do, I apologize to my little sweeties and ask for their forgiveness.  While they may not entirely know what it means to forgive me, someday they will.  And I hope it also teaches them that it’s alright to make mistakes, as long as you own up to them and try to make it right.


How do you handle tantrums with your little ones?  Do you handle it differently for each child?

Tuesday's Toddler Tales

Each week, we are linking up for Tuesday’s Toddler Tales.  This week’s topic is Toddler Tantrums.  Next week, we are talking about Fall Activities.  Link up your post, old or new.



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