How to deal with tantrums and more – with love
Toddlers, terrible twos, terrible threes, and tantrums – there is more there than just alliteration! While young children are learning to communicate, they often do not have the right words or get overwhelmed with complex emotions and cannot do so in an appropriate way. How then can you decipher what they want / what they mean and what you could do to make life less filled with stressful moments?
Some tips shared by experts suggest you look at their behavior and customize your response to deal with the situation. While every child, parent, and family is different, we have some general ideas to share.
Pulling their clothes up to cover their face. You may find it strange that a child would put his own clothes on his face especially at social gatherings where you want them to look their best and keep their clothes well. Burying their face into something is their signal that they are anxious. As adults, we find more appropriate ways to channel our anxiety like nursing a drink at a party or keeping our hands on our purse, etc.
You can deal with this by letting them take their time to settle in, not pushing them out of their little comfort zones. Being calm and being the role model helps.
Throwing a tantrum over buying something – Instant gratification!! As babies, they are most likely used to getting what they want by – mostly food and change of diapers, by crying and bawling aloud. As they get older, they see more of the world and want more. Their instinct is to cry and wait for wish fulfillment.
It is up to you as an adult to stay calm and try reasoning with them. While it may not work easily, there will be steady progress in time. The thing is to stick to what you say and not buy instant gratification.
Green eyed monster turns up – Notice how they want attention the moment you give it to someone else? Babies are possessive as a matter of routine as you have always kept them at the centre of the universe. With time, you may be comfortable giving your attention to other things as well, but they notice it and want it back. It is also a phase of figuring out that they are their own person.
Do not make the mistake of paying attention to the green-eyed monster. Reassure them calmly that you still will hear, pay attention and care for them, but will also pay attention to other people and things. Again, you need to be consistent to ensure it registers.
All animals and toys into the bed – While this may be a thing of love, it can also be about fear. Children have their own fears, like when they move to a new place, or when granny leaves after taking care for months.
If it is love, you can relax and join the gang, but if you sense fear, just ensure that you dispel them gently and calmly. Keep reiterating that change is not something to be afraid of.
These are just some general behaviours that are attention seeking but generally toddlers act up when they are overwhelmed with feelings and thoughts they cannot find an appropriate channel for or find hard to express.
Two basic ways to help them are through -
Play – Free play and fun are the best ways to take them out of the tantrum. Play releases hormones say psychologists. So horse around, tickle them or just chase them around and play with them. Soon there will be smiles, and as quickly as the cloud appears, it will clear too.
Cry – Venting out emotions is not a bad thing, especially in a safe space. Make sure the child is safe; hold her for comfort if you both wish. Stay calm and soothe them. Once they calm down, you can always reason better.
Above all remember to keep your sense of humour and the right perspective. No child, not even you, has grown up without a few tantrums along the way. It was the loving hand that shapes the child into a reasonable adult – eventually! Love them, humour them, enjoy their childhood with them – and give yourself some love too. You are doing the best for your child as a parent!
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