Wednesday, February 16, 2011
5 easy ways to avoid Toddler Tantrums
Do you have tantrums in your house?
Sometimes we do. My baby is now a toddler. She's beautiful, but she still tests boundaries sometimes and disagreements can turn into tantrums.
I know I can't avoid them all, and I don't think it would fair to try to. After all, it's my job to parent and that includes teaching her right and wrong & protecting her from harm. Even if it means risking a fight or tantrum. But it's never fun to argue with your child, so if I can find a way around it while still maintaining the role of the parent, I will.
Here are 5 things I do to shorten or prevent tantrums in my house:
1. Don't take part: Tantrums with Sophie are very short lived if the other person isn't actively fighting with her. So if things are beginning to get out of control, I keep my tone of voice light and just say "Mummy doesn't fight, Mummy just (insert activity here - reads the book, packs the bag, etc). And I go ahead and do it, get really invloved in it, and she tends to calm down, wander over and check it out. We end up doing the task together and everyone's calm again.
2. Stay firm, but not aggressive: Let's say I need Sophie to pack her blocks away and she really doesn't want to - she'll usually run away with a bit of a yell. If so, I now go over to her, take her hand and explain "It's time for blocks away, let's do it together". I lead her to the blocks, get down to her level and we start to put them away ("Can you put a red one in? Which one is red? Very good"). It becomes a bit of a game and turns into a great opportunity for a bit of praise and a cuddle afterwards.
3. Use a statement, not a question: This is great when the task is a necessary one. For example, at bath time, I try not to say "Do you want to have a bath?". Regardless of her answer, she has to have a bath anyway, so it's not fair for me to imply that she gets to choose. Instead I try to say "It's bath time. Let's run the bath together".
4. Give plenty of notice: If it's time to go in 5 minutes, I go to Sophie and tell her "five minutes till we hop in the car", "one minute till it's time to go" so she is aware that soon we'll be doing something else. Much easier than surprising her with something she wasn't expecting and isn't ready for. I do sound like a speaking clock, but I notice it has cut out a lot of disagreements.
5. Be careful with meals and sleep times: The most likely time for Soph to be a bit crabby is when she's hungry or when she's tired. If we are going to be out and about at meal or snack times, I pack her food and give it to her right on time. I don't want to spend 10 mins looking around for something to buy her and give her to eat, it's a long 10 minutes with a hungry, cranky toddler. Plus then I know I won't be just giving her the first thing I come across, it will be a proper snack or meal. If I need to schedule going out around her nap time, I will. If it means missing out on something social sometimes or juggling our schedule, it's worth it. It would have been a bad trip anyway if I took a tired girl out with me.
So those are the 5 that work best for us. I'd love to know more ideas! I have a feeling I'll need new ones as Sophie gets older :)
What do you do to reduce tantrums in your house?