Wednesday, October 3

Ultimate Guide to Toddler Tantrums

1.  Stay calm.

2.  Keep your voice down; tone compassionate.

3.  Convey quiet strength and confidence.

4.  Try not to look harassed and like you've lost control.

5.  Do nothing to condone or condemn the behaviour; be neutral.

6.  Do not reject the child by thought, word, or deed.

7.  Do not punish or try to intimidate the child into submission.

Ultimate guide to temper tantrums

8.  Hunker down to your child's level; be as little a threat as you can be during the tantrum.

9.  Do not argue, reason with, or give ultimatums; just remain calm.

10.           Do not spout mindless directives (For instance; "You're not making me happy!").

11.           Do not appear to be against the child or treat her like an enemy.

12.           Make sure your body language is non-threatening and sympathetic.

13.           Do not threaten with dire consequences, bogey man, or Voldemort.

14.           Note the triggering event, factor, or set of circumstances and make amends so it does not happen again.

15.           Some reasons could be a growth spurt, new tooth, immunisation shots or other natural causes.

16.           New experiences such as day care, new sibling, moving house, long trips, hospital visits, family get-togethers, end of family get-togethers may also upset young children.

17.           Holiday season madness when adults show unpredictable behaviour.

18.           A tantrum is a cry for help for a problem that they are unable to articulate; pay heed.

Ultimate guide to temper tantrums

19.           Compromise; pick your battles; don’t get finicky with your toddler's behaviour and come down on her for the little stuff.

20.           Give her space by giving time instead of deadlines to work her way out of a tantrum episode.

21.           Do not blame your toddler for ruining your shopping, or day, or life.

22.           Be patient like the rock that lets the wave dash on it.

23.            Allow the child to feel safe even amidst a tantrum.

24.           Do not appear to withdraw your love; this will further traumatise her.

25.           Build trust by not attacking.

26.           Prevent tantrums in the first place by avoiding trigger events such as shopping during his nap times; leaving trigger objects such as cell phones within reach and then grabbing it when he picks it up; piling his plate with stuff you know he detests instead of introducing it stealthily or giving him options.

27.           The child is most vulnerable amid a tantrum and needs love more then than when they are serene and lovable.

28.           Try to understand the cause; communicate to your child that you're trying your best to do so.

29.           The child may be soothed somewhat if she thinks you're genuinely trying to help.

30.           If you can't find a reason just know that there still is a reason to this madness even if you are unable to find one at that point. Explore other scientific causes for your toddler's tantrums.

Children and tantrum behaviour

31.           If it is caused by pain, discomfort, or fear it would be insane to follow the prevalent wisdom and ignore the child. Rule out possible hurt, fear, discomfort, and other physical issues.

32.           Check for emotional issues. Has the child's routines been disrupted to accommodate your errands? A tantrum is the child's way of reacting to it.

33.           How many times a day do you say, "No!" to your toddler? If you do that a lot, try to balance the negative with positives.

34.           Do not let the reaction of others bother you and cause you to act irrationally.

35.           People are going to be giving well-meant advice on how to deal with tantrums, but they don't know your children as well as you do. Go with your gut feeling and not by prevailing wisdom.

36.           People may not like a screaming child; they like a strident adult even less. Keep your composure.

37.           Show genuine concern and communicate to him that you really want to help.

38.           Convey your helplessness (of snatching the other kid's toy and presenting it to him because it's not right) and commiserate appropriately. He should understand that the reason you're not doing it is because it's not the right thing to do; it is not your way of taking revenge on him for throwing a tantrum.

39.           Offer alternatives.

40.           Distract.

41.           Understand that tantrums usually cannot be cut short; it has to run its course.

42.           Bringing it up later may not be a good idea because the child may not have a clear recollection of it; kids live in the present; kids have no adult logic.

How to handle toddler tantrums

43.           Toddlers do not understand the concept of delayed gratification; which is why they want something right away and refuse to understand why not. She has to learn it the hard way when her tantrum does not make like magic and get her what she wants. Be aware of what she's going through and remain empathic. It's like you wanting the latest Samsung phone right away but a higher power says, "Nope, you've got to wait until next year!"

44.           Don't expect the child to manage his tantrum.

45.           A toddler tantrum is a form of self-expression although an extreme version.

46.           Examine patterns of your own and your spouse's behaviour and how you express frustration, anger, loss, and sadness.

47.           Is there something in your relationship that makes your child anxious?

48.           A toddler has no sense of responsibility and cannot be held responsible for the tantrum. It's like catching a cold when the conditions are right to catch a cold; the kid is not responsible for catching a cold bug.

49.           But parents have the responsibility to evaluate, find cause, and make relevant changes.

50.           Or understand the repercussions.

51.           Making him feel guilty can cause harm to his emotional development; his system is not ready for a guilt complex.

52.           A tantrum is not necessarily misbehaviour to begin with, although in time it can become so.

53.           Among siblings, one may throw tantrums while the other may not. Do not compare the two as this will lead to the good guy/ bad guy categorisation and promote sibling rivalry. This actually gives him negative reinforcement; "I'm the 'bad guy', it is okay for me to act out."

54.           Kids unconsciously act out to fulfil your expectations, even negative ones. So do not discuss his tantrum behaviour when he is present.

55.           Kids are different and have different personalities even within the same family. Childrearing has to suit the personality; it is not a case of one pattern fits all.

Ultimate guide to toddler tantrums

56.           Do not label. Do not talk about the tantrum thrower as 'problem child' or 'little demon' etc. this may cause him to feel different and a 'freak'.

57.           Some kids pick up cues from other kids' behaviour; possibly other kids at day-care or at a play group or from cousins at a family gathering, and even from cartoons and movies. If you're sure this is where it's coming from, explain gently why this is not nice, praise his earlier behaviour, and encourage him to go back to that.

58.           Reward good behaviour, highlight and offer positive reinforcement rather than always bringing up what needs to be fixed. Don't wait for bad behaviour before you go scrambling to find something to reward; do it from day one. This is how you program your child to be good. Once he has this record, he'll want to maintain it.

59.           Keep in touch with teachers, day care staff, coaches, instructors to find if he acts up outside the home. Also whether he has issues with bullying—as victim or perpetrator.

60.           Do not leave the child alone during a tantrum, or locked up in the car, or in his room. Do not walk away from your child when she is having a tantrum in a public place. Be there.

61.           This can create fears of abandonment which may compound their fears and frustrations.

62.           As it subsides, hold her close and ask her if she feels better. Most kids seek out the presence of their parent once the melt down subsides. Do not reject their reaching out.

63.           Remove him from the environment and help him settle down.

64.           Once he has regained his composure and is smiling again, match your mood to his. Don't remain sulking when he is all happy and sunny.

65.           Do not act like the long-suffering victim in order to make her feel like a villain.

66.           At the end of it all, don't treat your child like a parole violator. A post mortem of the proceedings is not necessarily understood by a very young child.

67.           If you have to bring it up, put the incident in a story. How Bunny threw a tantrum and upset all the other bunnies. Discuss Bunny's situation with her; ask her why Bunny got upset in the first place.

68.           Get in touch with your inner child and put yourself in his place.

69.           Align yourself firmly on the side of the child and tell her to let you know the next time she feels this way so you can both avoid this happening.

Ultimate guide to tantrums

70.           Never ridicule or make her feel like the enemy; be neutral.

71.           Do not counter the tantrum with smart comebacks or witticisms to make her feel stupid.

72.           Do not shame your child publicly by pointing to other people and how they might by laughing at her behaviour. She'll grow up with low self-esteem and always have the feeling of being judged by others.

73.           Validate her feelings of frustration, discomfort, being overwhelmed, fear, and powerlessness.

74.           Tell her you understand but there is a better way to deal with it.

75.           Make a secret code, such as "I'm upset". Ask her to use this the next time she feels low. She'll be happy to have a secret pact with you.

76.           Yet another secret code is a special name you have for her when she has no choice but listen and obey. For instance, Katelyn could be Katie honey, sweetie, angel, princess and so on when she is nice, but a firm "Kate!" when she misbehaves.

77.           Ignoring a tantrum believing that it will make it go away will only serve to make matters worse, especially if the tantrum was caused by a feeling of not being attended to in the first place. This is a form of passive-aggressive stance found in adult confrontations.

78.           A genuinely sensitive child will be devastated by this reaction. Be aware of your child's true basic nature before you react to her behaviour.

79.           Treat the issue as important even if it is the most ridiculous thing you've heard in your entire life. You are teaching your child the importance of validating the feelings of others.

how to handle tantrums in kids

80.           Consistent eye contact, smiles, and conversation assures your young child that he is a part of your world and not outside it. This helps form bonds of attachment that go so far as to enable healthy relationships as adults.

81.           Some kids act out if they are strapped to a pram or a car seat for lengthy periods of time and are deprived of regular human contact in the form of hugs and cuddles. Kids flourish on physical contact and fail to thrive when denied it. They may feel deprived and act out in frustration.

82.           A feeling that he has to compete and try very hard to win your attention will fashion him into a whiny, strident, and annoying kid who will go to any length to get you to pay attention. As he gets older, his attention-grabbing gimmicks will get out of hand and veer towards bullying, self-harm, and criminal activity.

83.           Once the tantrum episode is done with and the child is settled, get life back to normal and resume your day-to-day activities. Do not treat the child as if he is an invalid who needs extra attention and mollycoddling; this may program him to hit the tantrum button to get some quality attention from you. Instead give him the extra special treatment when he is in his best behaviour in order to encourage more of that.

84.           How do you react when frustrated? Are you sending cues with your own behaviour?

85.           Sometimes you have to give in and it's not a loss. For instance, if your toddler acts out because he does not want to share his toys, do not make him out to be an ogre. Respect his decision. Socialisation skills will kick in when he is older. How happy would you be if someone takes a shine to your iPad and decides she wants it?

86.           Give the kid a break now and then. Don't be on her case the entire day monitoring her every word and deed. She does not have to be on her best behaviour 24X7.

87.           Kids only know what they want and when they want it; which is right now.

Ultimate guide to tantrum behaviour

88.           Toddlers are not capable of rationalising and counter arguing; they can only say, "Why?" and not really understand your adult explanation, which is why they keep repeating, "Why?"

89.           Toddlers are not capable of figuring out the best option.

90.           Toddlers are not capable of coming to a decision, prioritising, or bargaining.

91.           Toddlers are not capable of shrewdness in order to get something or make something happen.

92.           Toddlers do not know the idea of postponement.

93.           Toddlers do not plan for the future. So when they throw a tantrum, it's not a pre-meditated plan to make you suffer. 

94.           Toddlers do not know about "deserving" something.

95.           Toddlers can be distracted.

96.           The best way to encourage good behaviour is to treat them with hugs, happiness, and goodies when they are good on their own accord without your instructions or pleas.

97.           Treats need not be sugary stuff; it can be a good block of uninterrupted quality time, impromptu story or song, cooking together, or gardening, or whatever you both enjoy.

98.           When you smile at your toddler, make sure you look into his eyes and connect.

Ultimate guide to temper tantrums

99.           Be reasonable and realistic and deal with tantrums on a case by case basis rather than one set of rules to fit all temper episodes. When you decree Time Out for all tantrum behaviour, you're not interested in finding out the root cause of what's distressing your child. You have confined your role to that of a mere disciplinarian when the situation calls for a loving, understanding, and caring parent.   

100.        Like all things in life, this too shall pass; your toddler will soon be replaced by a weird teenager; so enjoy her while you're still able to pick her up and hug her tight.
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