Parenting can be so fun. It can be so rewarding. Life changing. It can be all puppies, unicorns and rainbows. But it can also be a major pain in the ass. It can drain you. It can make you feel like you’re going insane. Welcome to toddler tantrums! They can happen any where, for any reason and usually without warning. Name a place and one of my kids has probably had a tantrum there. Home, the store, library, church, school, disney world! Yes even when visiting the “Happiest place on earth” a child can still have a tantrum.
Tantrums can often make you feel like throwing one yourself. Or just going to bed and hiding out.
But here is what I believe. There is a reason a child is throwing the tantrum, and if they are young they may not understand their big emotions and whats going on and be able to explain it to you. Heck, I’m an adult and I can’t always explain my big emotions! No matter their age, I have always talked to my kids about emotions. Telling them their emotions are ok. They are aloud to be angry, sad, happy, glad, and such. But we talk about best way to show emotions. Screaming, crying and kicking may not always be the best way to show emotions.
But talking will only take you so far with a toddler. So when that doesn’t work, what else is there to do?
Here is what I have learned over the years.
1. Make sure everyone is getting enough sleep!
Seems easy enough, right?! Who am I kidding, it is anything but easy! But sleep plays a major part in someones mood and ability to handle situations. So sleep is a good thing. A toddler who has missed a nap, or had a bad night, will probably throw a few tantrums that day.
Who hasn’t gotten grumpy when hungry?! I know I have. Before you go on an outing, even something as simple as grocery shopping make sure your little one is not hungry and bring along snacks. Snacks are your best friend in the parenting years!
When your little one is having a hard time and throwing a tantrum distraction are key. Depending on the the size of the tantrum and where you are. Sometimes its as simple as “Did you see that bird?!” Or insert child’s favourite animal. Ask them questions about their favourite animals. Suggest walking around the store to look for pictures of their favourite animal.
I keep a small notebook a pen and stickers in my purse for distractions. Works like a charm, most of the time!
Asking them questions about an activity, or anything really. I will ask “Hey, where do unicorns live?” or “Can you tell me about swimming”.
This falls into distractions, but it can help calm both you and your child. If we are in a store I will ask my child how far they think we will get in 10 steps. Or 20 steps. I will pick them up, take big steps, little steps, try to make a game of it.
5. Craft Time.
This of course depends on where you are. This works best at home. We usually turn to painting or play dough. I try to keep a good stash of crafts and stickers for rainy days or tantrum throwing days. The dollar store is a good place to find lots of stuff!
6. Bath Time!
Again, this one works when you are home. Bath time is always a winner in this house. Even for me! I love bath time! Its relaxing and fun! Especially when its dark and you can throw in some glow sticks! Glow sticks are my secret weapon!
7. Hugs and cuddles.
Sometimes it is something so simple that helps and makes everything better! A hug and some cuddles always works. Especially when home and we can get nice and cozy and watch a movie. Or build a fort and have a cuddle and read a book!
8. Go home.
Sometimes nothing will work when out and your best option is to just go home. That is totally fine. Home is safe, home is good. Home will help you keep your sanity.
9. Cry it out.
Sometimes the best thing you can do, given the reason for the tantrum, is to let your child cry it out and work out their emotions. A good cry is needed now and then, for everyone.
10. Get outside.
Depending on the weather and time of day, nature is always your best friend. Fresh air will do wonders for everyone. Sunshine on your face, birds singing, blowing bubbles! All good things that will help everyone!
11. Try someone else.
All of my kids have been super, super, clingy to me. But sometimes, despite my best efforts, and putting my feelings aside, sometimes my kids just need someone else. Whether its my husband, my parents, or another family member, remember its a good thing that your child loves and feels safe with other people and that they can help! The more people that love and care about your child, the better!
Hope these help!
Something that you do that isn’t on this list? I would love to hear it.
Remember your child isn’t giving you a hard time, THEY ARE HAVING A HARD TIME!
It can be hard to keep your cool and your sanity, but your child is growing and learning. Everyone has big emotions, and we all have to learn what they mean and how to deal with them.