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Toddler-tantrums

How To Combat Toddler Fears

It’s no secret that as a mother of a toddler, you’ll have to find superwoman-like mind strength and Mother Teresa-like patience.

RELATED: Rude Toddlers: How To Teach Kids Tact

Small people are a trying bunch; ridiculously cute, but ever-growing and evolving, they can shock and surprise you with new habits, such as toddler fears, just when you think you’ve got them all worked out. A case in point is my three-year-old daughter, who’s suddenly developed an almighty fear of the “big bath.”

You see, my husband and I bathed her and her two-year-old sister together in a small baby bath within our big bath up until only recently, because it was easier to contain two slippery little tykes. But now that they’ve well and truly outgrown it, we’ve upgraded to the adult-size bath and OMG, the tears and the tantrums?! I swear our neighbours must think we’re child abusers. The horror!

toddlers, raising toddlers, parenting advice

It’s the flush-down-the-drain dread that’s got my little one losing her tiny mind. What’s more, no amount of soothing or coaxing seems to help and she’s stubbornly refusing to sit down in the bath each night, all the while screaming like a banshee as if we’re torturing her.

Meanwhile, her two-year-old sister is equally baffled by her odd behaviour and then she works herself up into a frenzy in kind, after witnessing her sibling’s nightly bath-induced meltdowns. It’s like dealing with terrorists, I tell you! And all this is very upsetting at times and far from bloody ideal.

Child health experts say toddler fears are very common, in part due to their ever-evolving imaginations. As they grow, they start to realise they can get hurt and bad things can happen.

toddlers, raising toddlers, parenting advice

Experts say never admonish or belittle your child over his or her immoveable fears. Instead, we parents must dig deep and give our toddlers an ample dose of sympathy. We’re also advised to tell our little ones that it’s OK to have fears and praise any progress he or she makes, no matter how little.

That’s all good and well, but my advice is you may need a glass of wine (or two) afterwards, too. It’s hard to see your child upset and beyond reason, but like all toddler phases – this soon shall pass. At least that’s what my friends tell me!

Common toddler fears

  • The bath
  • Animals
  • Loud noises
  • Doctor visits
  • Santa and other costumed performers
  • Strangers
  • The ocean
  • The dark

What do you think? What are your toddler’s fears?

Images via todaysparent.com, drgreene.com and magicmum.com

Rude Toddlers: How To Teach Kids Tact

Life is certainly never dull when you have toddlers and the unintentionally rude things they say and do ensures both endless hilarity and humiliation galore.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Get Dads Involved In Parenting

I am a proud mum to two little people: 20-month-old and three-year-old daughters. They’re endless fun, and hard work at once, but it’s shopping trips that can leave me especially embarrassed.

Just this week, I had to explain to my eldest why it wasn’t cool to loudly ask me at the supermarket aisle: “Why is the man (a female checkout operator with a crew cut) wearing lipstick?” Shudder!

Then, my one-year-old sufficiently disgraced herself (and me) at a play centre on the weekend by screaming “Mermaid!” every time she laid eyes on a little redhead who did actually closely resemble a mini Ariel in her new obsession: The Little Mermaid.

The poor little redhead was suitably terrified of my tiny banshee, who then exacerbated the situation by chasing her around for hugs. Oh the vast and infinite horror. And the fun didn’t end there: my feisty, little one-year-old then started screaming “Mine!” and pushing others off her favourite animal toy, once redhead and her mum had fled the building.

toddlers, toddler taming, toddler social development

So, how on earth do we teach our toddlers sensitivity and tact? And why does it come naturally to some kids and not others?

Child experts say to gently explain to your toddler how certain involuntarily rude statements and behaviours affect others in the hope they’ll come to understand why it’s socially unacceptable. After all, your little tykes are busy testing out their social and language skills.

In addition, toddlers are also renowned for their total lack of self-control and are yet to fully develop a sense of empathy and understanding that people’s feelings can be hurt by unkind, tactless remarks.

Psychologists call this “theory of mind” which is where children come to realise that other people have thoughts and feelings different to their own.
And the age at which they learn varies greatly, depending on the social maturity of the child.
Daycare, which often gets undue bad press, actually encourages this important development of social skills and empathy towards others as children interact and feelings are inevitably hurt.

toddlers, toddler taming, toddler social development

Another recent clanger, was when my three-year-old asked me, thankfully, within the safety of our own home: “Why is Jacinta (her new kindy teacher) a man?” For the record, Jacinta is most definitely not a man, just a rather voluptuous woman.

So, it seems yet another important and essential parental responsibility is encouraging toddlers to have inquiring minds – my girls ask endless questions, sigh – while also educating them about what’s appropriate conversation and what’s not.

Child experts say not to scold your child for his/her honesty, call him/her rude, or discourage them from speaking their minds. Instead, you could try explaining that words are powerful: they can make people both happy and sad.

I think it’s also, in part, that fun parental lesson about teaching toddlers what constitutes good manners; encouraging kids to be kind and respectful, by example. And like all toddler-related matters, it’ll take every ounce of your patience and tolerance, ladies (at least it does me).

Now, if we can just teach our husbands to similarly always think before they speak…

Images, in order, via www.sheknows.com.au, www.news.com.au and research.fuseink.com.

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

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