Mom of a two year old. Officially. Personally I find toddlerhood much easier than infancy. And a lot more fun. When little people talk like big adults, it’s the most amazing thing. Shravan & I are constantly exchanging glances & bursting into laughter at Anahita’s conversations & questions. The “What is this & Why Mama” has already started. With tremendous curiosity & learning, there also are the terrible tantrums.
What’s a toddler tantrum? Simply put, a child’s struggle to cope with difficult emotions. They actually help them vent their frustration & cleanse their emotional system. However, it can be tough for a parent to address the problem & handle the tantrum.
Over the past 6/8 months, I have witnessed quite a few tantrums. Some intense ones, some not so bad. Here are the 5 D’s that have helped me immensely:
Develop a routine: Routines provide a sense of security & certainty for kids. And when kids know what’s coming next in the day, they tend to thrive. A stickler for routine myself, I have observed it’s mainly when we aren’t able to stick to it is when Anahita throw a tantrum. For ex., way past her bedtime, the tiredness kicks in & the cranky behavior starts. Not had a nap before class, more likely they will act out.
Discuss: Well, may not be the solution always. But it’s worth giving a try. Helpful when the child has developed communication skills and can at least say a yes or a no. The other day, amidst lunch, Ms. Anahita bursts out crying. “No Rajma Chawwwwaaallllllllll” (which by the way is favorite meal to eat). ‘Ok, Do you want to eat egg?”. “Nooooooooooooo.” Do you want Parantha? ”Nooooooooooooooo”. Do you want Lassi? “Yes”. Do you want to sleep? “NOOOOOOOOOOO.” She had her lassi, played for a bit & fell off to sleep. Woke up and had a big snack. Discussing the issue also gives a certain sense of authority to the kids. That they have control over the situation. I personally feel it helps their negotiation skills & confidence boosting :P.
Distract: Most effective. If the central issue is with a toy car not working or the favorite book is torn somewhere or anything else for that matter. My instinctive step is to distract her. “Anahu can you please make cold coffee for Mama in your kitchen set?” Or “Anahu come let’s see the butterfly in the garden” Or “Did you eat cake at the birthday party we went too?”. A change of scene helps too. The outdoors always work. Even going up & down the apartment lift!
Discipline: Just so that they understand that somewhere we have to draw a line. A demand for a toy or snatching things from other kids or not willing to eat food. They can be told firmly yet politely that “You don’t need the toy you have so many at home.” “Eat your lunch & you can play.” “No snatching the toy from him.” They might not comprehend the statements, they are children. But ultimately the concept of boundaries starts setting in.
Distance: Toddler tantrums mostly take place in front of the primary caregiver. Amidst an intense one, ask your partner/nanny to step in. Many a times we tend to pass our own tense energies to them and it becomes a vicious circle. At least I do! Let another person step in and soothe them down. If no one is around, take a step back regain your own composure & start again.
Hope these steps help you in a small little way. Ending here with one of my favorite quotes:
“When Little People Are Overwhelmed By Big Emotions, Its Our Duty to Share Our Peace & Not Join Their Chaos.” L.R. Knost