Kids don’t like being told “No.” The word is usually a catalyst for an epic meltdown, especially for toddlers who also like to throw it back at us. Like vortexes, kiddie tantrums tend to pull in everyone and everything around them.
If you’re not prepared, you too will feel like yelling and stomping your feet. As tiny faces redden and lungs are exercised, your own patience is tested. Fear not, parents! Fellow mom Paula of the blog Beauty through Imperfection has found a way to nip tantrums in the bud.
If you’re at home and your child doth protest nap time too much, a fallout could follow. When the pool closes but your kid doesn’t want the fun to end, alert the town crier to alert the crowd. Sound like too much? Paula says the key to avoiding a full blown outburst is prevention. So she counts.
It’s not the countdown (or count-up) that serves as a warning to the consequences for bad behavior. It’s a count to 10 to help ease little ones into transition mode. Paula’s method works like this: tell the child what’s about to occur (i.e. leaving the park); explain the change will happen when you reach 10, but the child can continue what he’s doing until then; at 10, on to the next thing.
Reasoning that their underdeveloped emotions make it difficult for them to handle changes, Paula says this way allows children to prepare. It makes sense. Change can be scary or unnerving, especially to a toddler. While older kids may understand the concept of time, younger ones need a different approach than “5 more minutes”.
Paula learned that counting enables the parent to maintain control over a situation while giving the kid time to process time and directions. Rebellious ones are also less likely to revolt if it feels like they understand what’s coming next within a small chunk of time.
She did note that this is the way she does things when changes are about to happen, like bedtime or hopping in the car to go somewhere. Paula shared that this trick works with her son 90% of the time, and he happily moves along to what’s next. It’s cut down on screaming fits that we’re all so fond of.
Knowing your child’s personality and triggers is half of this. You’ll know if your baby is sleepy, bored, or just wants her way. Some parents set up a routine to avoid the surprises that bring a catastrophic eruption. Have snacks, toys, and a blanket at the ready.
Raising kids isn’t always a picnic, as “Exorcist“-like blowouts have taught us. Just keep doing the best you can to diffuse situations calmly without anger or fits of laughter (we know the meltdowns are hilarious sometimes). You can only do what you can with a child who’s upset they can’t hug Minnie Mouse on the TV screen, or one who goes nuclear over a lost ball that’s sitting right behind him.
Have you ever tried Paula’s magical tantrum treatment before? What techniques have you used to nip and clip hissy fits? Share with us in the comments!