The toddler years are renowned for their tantrums, but did you ever stop to think how long you spend each day dealing with ‘domestic dramas’? Well, according to an internet poll by food company Dolmio, it’s about 23 minutes… Every. Single. Day. That translates into a whopping six full days a year! At the top of the tantrum triggers: getting your littlie to bed, getting them to do homework, and of course, limiting their TV time. Follow these strategies for avoiding (another) meltdown:
1 IGNORE IT
This takes a lot of self-control, but ignoring your toddler when he’s having a meltdown can shift the power back to you and help him calm down, says parenting expert Dr Karen Phillip. “The child wants attention. They want you to fold and give them what they want. Standing firm and not reacting sends the message that you will not tolerate the behaviour and they won’t benefit from a tantrum.”
2 CREATE SPACE
Distancing yourself from your little one or giving him some time on his own to settle allows him to let off steam. After the storm has passed, talk to your toddler and help them understand their irrational behaviour. “Help the child develop ideas of how they can choose a different response and support them in this choice,” says Karen.
3 DISTRACT, DISTRACT, DISTRACT
If you have learnt the tell-tale signs and can spot an imminent meltdown, don’t be afraid to whip out their favourite toy or ask them about the world around them to give them a new focus.
4 HANGRY TIME
Your toddler can get irate when he’s lacking food or sleep, so ask him if he’d like a nap or a healthy snack.
5 HUG IT OUT
Sometimes a hug can help your toddler feel reassured and calm again, without any strong words or questions needed. Karen says, “Providing a child with hugs or affection can help them to feel loved, appreciated and recognised as important to you.”