How To Defuse Toddler Tantrums

Toddler tantrums are a sight to behold – it might even be funny, if it was happening to someone else. Example: My two-and-a-half-year-old just threw a monumental temper tantrum because I committed the motherly crime of cutting her Vegemite sandwich into squares instead of triangles. Please don’t call DoCS!?

Trying to parent a toddler in the midst of the “terrible twos” can be exhausting, baffling, upsetting and downright frustrating time. I thought I knew my little one very well until she started morphing into The Incredible Hulk without warning. So, what causes these ticking time bombs?

Child experts say hunger, fatigue, overstimulation and boredom are common reasons why your little person has headed to Meltdown Town. What’s more, toddlers often can’t yet properly articulate what they want through words, hence their anger and frustration. And, if your feisty toddler’s anything like mine, she’s suddenly turned Little Miss Independent, now refusing to allow me to do simple tasks such as dress/undress her. Gah!?

My husband and I have also grappled with yet another cause of toddler tantrums – setting either too few or too many limits – getting the balance right is tricky. So, how do you defuse these explosive situations without calling in the UN?! Experts say to try these strategies – experiment with what works best with your child’s personality:

Cool as a cucumber

Try to stay calm first and foremost. This is easier said than done, I know! And, just like you would with a wild animal, you’re meant to speak softly to a banshee child.

Art of distraction

This is my fave method of calming a crazy toddler – “Look, quick! Is that a bird outside?” or the like always works a treat. Create fun diversions, where possible.

Tickle funny bones

Humour is a great way to soften an angry toddler – um, apparently! I’m still working on this one myself, though it has worked at times. The trick, experts say, is to use silly humour such as voices, sing-songs and jokes to calm your Hulk.

Keep littlies busy

The idiom “idle hands are the devil’s handiwork” is true with a toddler, methinks. Give them fun and active tasks with which to occupy them and there’s less chance for tantrums. I think…

How do you best cope with and combat toddler tantrums? 

Image via pixabay.com

July 31, 2014

Can You Prevent Toddler Tantrums?

In a flash your sweet happy child turns into a raging strange creature. There’s nothing you can do to stop this creature from wailing, kicking and throwing himself on the floor. Then, just as suddenly, the outburst is over and the child you know is back. What did just happen?

Welcome to the world of toddler tantrums. They are a result of your toddler’s limited ability to deal with the world around them. They see, hear and feel things that they‘re not sure what to do with. At the same time, they can’t put what they’re feeling in words and ask you for help, so the frustration often comes out in ways that both parents and our children find stressful.

Tips to avoid tantrums

Tantrums often happen because of hunger, fatigue or overstimulation. These can be avoided by simply watching your child and making sure his needs are met. A useful tool to minimise tantrums are routines. Most kids feel safer and more in control of their lives when their day is somewhat predictable.

Consistency and clear boundaries also help make the child’s world easier for them to understand.  Have firm rules about crossing the road, watching TV or anything else that you may feel strongly about and your toddler may want to challenge. After a while, your child will come to accept calmly that this is just how things are.

If your toddler throws tantrums when things don’t go his way, it helps to cut down on the need to say ‘no’. Childproof your home, keep lollies and chips out of sight, don’t leave your smart phone lying around.

When you can’t avoid them

No matter what you do, you won’t be able to avoid every single tantrum. There’ll be situation when your child experiences emotions he can’t cope with and he doesn’t have the language skills to tell you about them. So if a tantrum happens in spite of your efforts, the best things you can do is stay calm, keep your child safe and wait for the tantrum to run its course (it gets easier with practice). For some children these emotional tantrums for no obvious reason may be rare, but for others they’re a daily occurrence, so if it happens to you, know that it’s not your fault. Your child is learning to regulate his emotions and tantrums are a part of this natural process.

Image by David Thompson via Flickr.com

By Tatiana Apostolova

July 25, 2014

How to Control Your Child’s Behaviour

From temper tantrums to chores…controlling your child’s behaviour can be nerve-wracking, to say the least! You know you should set boundaries, but you also believe in positive parenting, so how do you juggle both responsibilities? From screaming kids in the supermarket to constant arguments over bedtime, Karen Phillip has the answers.

With over 20 years’ experience as a mother, family counsellor and family dispute resolution practitioner, Karen Phillip has released her new book ‘Who runs your house? The kids or you?’ Read on for Karen’s top five tips to make life easier for the family:

1. Say yes in a way to still get what you want but to reinforce positive behaviour
‘Yes’ is a great word and can be used to our advantage. Saying yes can deflate a situation because it is a pause word.  When a child hears yes, they have to stop to hear what you are saying yes to. That being said, we should not say yes to things we do not agree with or do not want to give our children. We need to say yes to the part of something to appease their demands. When they ask for a treat from the shop you can reply with “Yes, I can hear how much you would like that treat now, however, not right now, and, yes, I will think about it for you.”

2. Give your child two choices to give them the feeling that they have control of their life
By giving your child a choice on certain matters, you can assist them to feel they have in fact made the choice when sometimes it is more of a direction from the parent. E.g. “You can choose not to eat your lunch and go into your room without lunch or playing outside OR you can eat your lunch now and then go outside to play. It doesn’t actually bother me which one you choose sweetie. What do you choose?” Always remember to place the one you want them to choose last so it remains more in the mind.  By giving the child two choices the child believes it was his/her decision and the child will feel good because they were allowed the opportunity to choose themselves.

3. How to stop and control tantrums
Never give in to their demands, hold your ground! If you cave in and give them that treat that caused them to scream and shout in the middle of the supermarket then you have set the precedent and they will continue to act like this to get what they want. If you see the tantrum about to start warn your child that if they ‘chuck a wobbly’ then x or y will happen and STICK to what you promised.  If your child is throwing a tantrum or acting badly, then put the child in his/her room with the door closed.  Make sure the child has nothing to play with.  If the child continually tries to leave the room, put a lock on the door, YES it is allowed.  This will show the child that you are serious and the child will remember this is the punishment for bad behaviour.

4. Children model behaviour so parents need to be aware of their own conduct
Children are moulded and influenced by their environment.  The general rule is never yell at a child for yelling, never smack a child for hitting and never bite a child for biting.  It is important for children to see people get angry.  However, what is more important is that they see what you do when you are angry and how you manage those feelings and emotions.  This rule applies to your partner, your relationship with him/her and the interaction between you both that your child sees.

5. Ensure you explain clearly and simply to your children the rules, boundaries and consequences
All children need to have clear instructions of what is expected of them.  If you set a rule ask the child what they understand that rule to mean. If they are old enough, ask them if they feel the rule is fair or reasonable.  Rather than ask them to ‘tidy their room,’ which they could interpret differently, instead ask them ‘Would you please pick up all your toys and put them in the correct containers, then place them on the shelf.’

For more information on Karen Phillip and her new book, visit www.whorunsyourhouse.com.

What are your best tips for controlling your kids?

October 4, 2013