Tantrum tamers

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Baby Talk -

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.”

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