If you have a toddler, guaranteed you’ve seen yourself a pretty great tantrum. Your sweet angel arched their back and let out a piercing cry, all while kicking and sinking to the floor. The reasons for these tantrums are never endless. Like today I went to the bathroom by myself. I also shut the fridge, heaven forbid, and wouldn’t let them climb in the fireplace. You’re welcome twin toddlers. I kept you alive for one more day!
But really the fits are never endless when there is constant sibling rivalry, but that will be another blog post in itself! These aren’t your average fits though. These are the stop you in your tracks, I have no idea what monster I have created kind of fits. I remember the first time I witnessed my first real “tantrum”. I wasn’t prepared to handle something like that! They are inconsolable. I did my best and nothing helped, so then what did I do? I told my one year old to knock it off, sit down, and be quiet. I had lost my patience. She knew it too, because it only made her more upset.
After a few of those, I learned I needed to learn how to handle these better and FAST. Sadly, I do not see them slowing down anytime soon! If you have a 13 month old (or two) throwing fits like I do, we have a LONG road ahead until we can ditch them at school. (Kidding, kidding. Well…. mostly.) And I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I just can’t handle it anymore! Fine, take the pen. Who cares if it makes you stop crying. Don’t judge me. You know you’ve done the same thing! Guess what? How about we don’t anymore. I don’t want two spoiled little brats that get everything they want or throw a fit. I don’t know a single parent who does, but I also don’t want to witness a meltdown I don’t know how to control. This leads me to my first tip!
- Realize you have no control. Easier said than done I know. I am working on it though, and it’s actually getting easier. It isn’t very easy for a control freak to accept this, so if I can do it than anyone can! For example, I have to take that pen away. I don’t know how she will react to the situation (okay I probably do and it’s NOT going to be good) but I have no control over it and it needs to happen anyway. (I’m not raising entitled, one-eyed children remember?!)
- “I am keeping you safe.” This has been my take on “NO” lately. Let me tell you, IT IS AMAZING. I don’t think it dulls the pain of losing their coveted object, but it sure makes me feel like a nicer mommy than saying NO, NO every ten seconds. I try to make eye contact and tell them while I pry whatever it is from their fists that have an incredible amount of strength. I have a toddler who will even try and bite me… she’s slightly toothless so maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Sorry, Auri.
- Put them down somewhere. This is about the point when all hell breaks loose. Twisting, twirling, hitting, crying tantrum tornado is going full blown. Take a deep breath, put them down if they are going to hurt you or themselves (they are strong little things) and let the storm ride out. This is the hardest part for me! My job as a mom is to limit the crying and keep the house peaceful! It may not be my job, but I like to make it my job because it keeps me sane. In order to get what I want in the long run, like respectable children, I may have to deal with some crying today. Good thing it’s summer, can someone hand me that margarita I couldn’t drink last summer? It’s gonna be a LONG one and I am going to need it!
- Finish sipping your cocktail while you wait for the quiet to follow. No one can hear you over a screaming toddler, so explaining while they are in the midst of a meltdown is not going to work. When they do calm down though, explain that they might be sad because of what you did, or angry that you took their “unsafe” toy away. This helps them understand what they are feeling, but also helps YOU understand how they might feel. I don’t know about you, but I would be pretty darn angry at the bossy lady telling me what to do all day.
- Be present and respectful. Your child is upset at you, but they still love you and need you. After a few minutes my babies almost always need a hug, and guess what I am there. I’ve been there waiting the whole time they’ve been upset. I am ready for a hug when they are and I will tell them again I understand they are angry, or sad and cross my fingers that the crying stops soon.
It isn’t a fool proof plan. In fact, tantrums happen more often than I would care to admit. But, I do feel more confident in the way I have been able to handle myself and them. I am trying to be a responder to the problem instead of a reactor. Like I said before, if my controlling self that do it I believe anyone can!
I hope you found something helpful and worth remembering for next time your toddler throws a tantrum. I know that it is going to take some practice, but eventually just like all things, we might get the hang of it! Props to all the mothers before us who never told us how hard parenting can actually be, you sly devils you. How did you do it? Any tips and tricks you also aren’t telling us?
Have a wonderful Wednesday from my Nest to yours!