Top 10 Ways To Avoid Tantrums.
Around the age of 18 months, we delight in our little persons new ability to make demands, control their environment and generally wield their little wands about. That is, until they realise that they can use their new found power against us.
Lets talk about those earth shattering tantrums and how we can avoid as many as possible, and a few techniques for making them stop once they begin!
- Make sure your little person has all their basic needs met. Even the most angelic child can be monstrous when tired or hungry. If it’s nearly nap time, skip the last minute trip to the supermarket if you can. And if you can’t? Be prepared for battle.
- Make a game of things you know your toddler isn’t a fan of. If it’s fun and they are laughing, it’s much easier to avoid the tears. Packing away can look very much like basketball. Shopping is definitely a treasure hunt. “When we get to the supermarket I need three apples and a box of tissues. Think you can help me find them?”
- Explain what you expect them to do in advance so they know how to please you. Trust me, they want to please you, and praise is the best reward for your little person. “I’d like you to hold my hand all the way to the park gate please. Once we are inside, you can run around”.
- Avoid yes or no questions. “Do you want to eat your broccoli?” will get a “No!” every time. Try saying something like: “It’s time to eat your…” or “It’s your turn now”.
- Distract them. You can feel a massive tantrum brewing. Whats the best thing to do? Focus on something totally different. If you can change the environment. Go outside. Spot a plane. “What colour is that one? Do you think its Qantas? Or Jetstar?”. Before they know it, they will have forgotten all about that kid taking their ball.
- Blame someone else. Your little person doesn’t think brushing their teeth is such a good idea. But they have to. You know why? Because the Dentist said so. This suddenly makes the brushing less optional (and you aren’t the bad guy for once). Don’t forget to make it a game as you move on!
- Always let them know what is coming next. Toddlers live in the moment. They are totally engrossed in whatever they are doing. When you just pull them away from their work without warning, they will often get disappointed and cross. Usually a five minute and a one minute heads up will be enough. When starting this one, try to stick to the times. While little people don’t have a strong concept of time, its important we give them consistent expectations of how long ‘one minute’ is.
- Make it sound worth it. If you ask your little person to come to you with a monster voice, do you really think they will come?
- Behave the way you expect you little ones to behave. No screens at the table? Well put your phone away Mum. Monkey see, monkey do. It’s not fair to expect them to do something you wont. This is also a great tip for eating. Eat with your toddler and show them how you can clean your plate!
- Ignore it! So you’ve had your ‘last go’ after giving a one minute warning but there is still a monster kicking and screaming on the floor. You said you had to leave, so make them believe it. Gather your things and off you trot. They will come running. You have to put on a convincing show though. (Once my car was right by the park gate, so when Miss A kicked up a stink about leaving the park, I went and hopped in. She watched me, but wasn’t convinced. So I turned on the car. She never tried to stay behind at the park again after that).