Quick tips to control fullscale meltdowns – theirs not yours!
We’ve all been there… you promised the kids an ice cream and their fave flavour is out of stock. Cue major meltdown (‘scuse the pun!). Or you desperately need to pop to the supermarket to restock the bare cupboards but your tot is not playing ball. Cue serious tanty. Yep, we all know that tots can go from tame to temper in less time than it takes to knock back the dregs of our daily coffee, and we’ll be honest, we reckon it’s one of the most difficult (and exhausting) parts of parenting. Thankfully there are some tips ‘n’ tricks we can all try to salvage the situation on the road to successfully taming toddler temper tantrums…
Hungry kids are hangry kids: never underestimate the power of hunger. A quick healthy snack goes a long way in preventing toddler combustion point, so even if it is just 15 mins before dinner, whip out something light like a watermelon slice to keep crankiness at bay.
Children are not able to take in large amounts of information when they’re upset. Speak calmly, maintain a commanding tone of voice, and use simple words such “You need to stop” or “Not right now”. You can save that big, lesson-imparting lecture for later when both of you are much calmer. During this time, guide them on expressing their feelings better through activities like art, craft or sensory play, or distract them with a fun picture book. We’ve got a roundup of lovely reads that deal with feelings and emotions to help too.
Deal or no deal
Engaging in a debate with your raging toddler is not the way forward. If they sense even the teeniest chink in your resolve, they’ll hone in for the kill. Instead of arguing with them (it’s hard, we get it), cut a deal. “Mummy understands you’re frustrated now, but you can have the cookie after you’ve eaten all your dinner”. Yep: there’s a lot of internal counting to 10 and managing your own temper when it comes to parenting tiny terrors…
You’ll need nerves of steel for this, and probably best not done when you’re feeling especially hormonal or stressed yourself… Completely ignore the temper tantrum and get busy with something else like reading a magazine or prepping dinner. Explain, “Let me know when you’re done” and ignore them until they’ve calmed down. Ear plugs may help…
Get down on their level: literally
If you find your toddler making a scene, get down on your knees and take a few moments to hold them by their hands. Look them in the eye while firmly saying “No!” to their demands. Children tend to react better with closer physical contact. Not ideal if you’re out and about, but we’ve all been that mother in a shopping mall who’s child is laid out on the floor having the mother of all strops. No judgement here.
Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles
Believe it or not grabbing a bubble wand and blowing bubbles with the kids is one of the quickest solutions to meltdown moments. Fact: bubbles both distract and calm children – blowing bubbles causes both you and your child to take deep breaths in and out, a known way of reclaiming your composure in times of exasperation. Win, win, we say, as this will help your kiddo AND you calm-a-llama down.
Top image: Ryan Franco via Unsplash
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