Tips on Dealing with Tantrums and the Terrible Twos
Most of us have had terrible two year olds on our hands at some point haven’t we-please tell me you can relate-that loss of control, the irritation, embarrassment and frankly, downright fatigue of dealing with a 2 going on 12 year old ‘twonager’!
Yes we all know this stubbornness and quest for independence is formative, normal behaviour especially as 2 year olds can’t yet reason, but it doesn’t make it any less tough when you’re in the midst of it all, does it?
Fear not, sharing is caring right, I’ve been there, the people who’ve contributed to this psot, have been there and we can help/wallow in one another’s frustration together.
Here are some tips and simple reminders to help keep us all sane. OK, nearly sane.
I’m sharing a few of my own tips and tricks along with wise words from other parent bloggers and a child expert too, especially for you.
The advice will hopefully take the edge off the terrible two’s and those epic tantrums-oh and the good news, these times don’t last forever, I mean soon your 2 year old will reach the ‘threenage’ years and beyond. You might want to bookmark this post!
Firstly, let’s kick off with Rachel Waddilove, Childcare expert and author/ blogger of Rachel’s Babies, for her advice.
1. Try and ensure your toddler is sleeping well – tired toddlers, like us, are generally grumpy.
2. Try to make sure your toddler eats well and regularly if you can. Keeping blood sugar stables mean moods are more manageable.
3. Try to avert the tantrum when you see it coming -it is easier to do this with younger toddlers. Distraction is key.
4. Try reward charts with older toddlers for good behaviour can often work well.
5. Sometimes a good cuddle will work wonders – especially if your little one is upset.
Sing ALL the time! Seriously though I find singing is a great distraction and engages another side of their brain in a tantrum situation – if nothing else it makes them stop for a moment and then you can distract them with something else!
‘Whatever is closest to you (as a tantrum can occur anywhere) but try not to use sweets etc. Something fun and exciting, even if it’s made up. For example if it’s a tantrum in a store, say “I just saw something amazing flying in the sky outside, let’s take a look” and stay calm by telling yourself that it will be far worse if you get angry. If you’re in a safe place, then walk away for a few minutes x
Best thing for us has been giving options. Both of which are favourable to you but let the toddler feel as though they are in control of the situation. Knowing their triggers is important too and so distracting them before they explode is key! Also, something I have learned recently is acknowledging their feelings outloud – I know you are feeling tired but there is not much further to walk’.
Try & nip tantrums in the bud with distraction. If they do have a melt down its the adults role to give them a cuddle & some time in afterwards. It’s not giving in or spoiling them. Tantrums are a the loss of emotion control & can be frightening for them.
Their emotional brain is still developing & they need you to restore balance. You can chat about what they should’ve done during time in, no later as they’ll have forgotten what it was they’ve done. It’s a tough age for toddlers & parents but also lovely seeing their personalities shine. It’s actually my favourite time (phew had my professional hat on their, back to normal now!)
Renée of Mummy Tries: Calm calm calm… also give them choices but not too many so they get overwhelmed. Let them lead the way more… oh and did I mention staying cool-as-a-cucumber?
My middle son is just going through it now. It’s awful. What works for us is a kind of distraction. I take him away from the situation, hold him close (without constricting him too much) and get him to take a deep breath and smile. Sometimes it takes a few tries, but he now understands how to calm himself down by breathing and smiling. We also use a trick from the show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and sing a little song. “When you feel so mad that you want to ROAR, take a deep breath and count to FOUR. 1…2…3…4. Works wonders!
Heena of Mummy’s Bubble We have achieved the “going to calm down” room… works wonders compared to the naughty step. Baby Z even does it herself when she has had too much of crying and us ignoring her tantrum.
Stay calm. Whatever you do, stay calm. They can sense stress better than police dogs, and will rise to it the second they see they’re getting a rise from you. Always try to find alternatives to things they shouldn’t be doing. Instead of saying ‘no’ all the time, try, ‘how about we find a better thing to do with that (frying pan, PS2 controller, stanley knife). Make sure they sleep! Tired kids are impossible. And make sure they’re well-fed. Hungry kids are also impossible.
Candace of Us Three By The Sea I was very very lucky with both mine. Neither of them went through the terrible twos. If hit them both at about 5 and DD at 11 is still going through it! Think every child is different even siblings. Best thing I found was consistency & try to stay calm yourself. It’s just a case of sitting it out.
Dealing with tantrums can be really stressful, so try and make sure that you have coping mechanisms for yourself. This could be taking yourself away from your toddler for a few minutes so you can stay calm. Or it could be knowing you are going to get an hour to yourself in the evening to really take some time out. Looking after yourself will help you deal with the stress, and the calmer you are, the calmer your toddler will be.