Toddlers don’t need a good reason to flick the tantrum switch. They’ll let rip anywhere, anytime. The bigger the audience, the better! Here are some tips to help you dodge those meltdown moments…
When you see the signs of a tantrum building, nip it in the bud… point out an interesting bug, change the subject, whip out your secret stash of bubbles. If possible, physically move away from whatever is provoking the eruption. Diffusing a bomb is better than picking up pieces after it has blown.
2. Pick your battles
Decide which issues are absolute musts – brushing teeth, being strapped into a car chair – don’t budge onrest of it? Be gloriously flexible. Does it really matter if her t-shirt clashes with her pants, or if she goes to daycare in her slippers? The short person in your life is at an age where they will argue with you for the fun of it. Don’t get sucked in!
3. Get her wet
If it’s winter, run a bath. Summer? Head outdoors to the nearest beach, river, pool, fountain… sprinkler. Water is magical in how quickly it settles grumpy small people. Even a large tub outside in the sun, with a variety of plastic cups and jugs will do the trick. Wetting feet and making footprints can also be quite exciting for a toddler who has never noticed their own tracks before.
4. Find an animal
The soothing effect of a child-friendly pet cannot be under-estimated. Somewhere between the soft fur and tickly whiskers, your wound-up kid may just unravel to a puddle of happy compliance.
5. Medicine? Drink bubbles!
Most liquid medication can do with a good shake before being poured into a spoon. Shaking causes bubbles and these bubbles are your key to avoid being spraypainted in medicine that your toddler isn’t keen on. Presenting your child with a spoon of ‘bubbles’ instead of ‘medicine’ can make all the difference in their wilingness to swallow.
6. Hairwashing: sorted
The easiest way to wash hair in a bath is to get your little one to lie back, and let you get on with it. The challenge is getting her there! Line up some toys on the bath rim behind your child’s back. Bottles of shampoo will also do. When they are ready to have their hair washed, let them lie back on your hand and tell them to look at the goodies you’ve spread out behind them. While you are washing, ask questions. What can you see that is blue? What color is the frog? What is hiding behind the yellow bottle?
7. Go Outside
Being cooped up inside all day, is a recipe for grumpiness. Break the rut and go for a walk outside. Fresh air, interesting bugs and leaves, a change of scenery, all make the perfect antidote to cabin fever.
8. Get moving
Any unused energy that lurks in your little ones system, will make the next tantrum more spectacular. Put on some loud music and bop around the lounge. Find a jungle gym and let your toddler climb, hang and swing. Use that energy to benefit their bodies, rather than fuel a meltdown.
9. Let them help you
I know this thought is enough to lace gray through your hair. Toddler-help means extra mess, a job that takes five times longer and results that are far from perfect. The truth is, your child loves nothing more than being with you and doing whatever you are doing. Every small job you give them, deposits into their skill bank and grows their confidence. Kids who do stuff with the adults in their lives, grow up to be problem solvers who take intiative.
10. Enjoy their company
Toddlers are a non-stop whirl of mess, energy and the question ‘why’? It is not odd to feel drained after spending a few hours together, even more so when you’re on parent-duty 24/7. But they are also inquisitive, loving and fun to be around. When you feel overwhelmed, step back, take a moment to breathe. Allow yourself to see the delightful side of this awesome little person who shares life with you. Laugh together at silly things and don’t let small issues get in the way of big love.
Your unconditional love and acceptance will help them navigate the stormy waters of those early years. When you look again, toddler tantrums will be nothing more than a memory.