Disclaimer: I am just a mom offering my honest point of view and suggestions based on what has worked for me. I am not a professional nor am I telling you what to do. I am not responsible for anyone else’s actions based upon what I write.
I often hear moms complain about tantrums. In fact, I used to be one of those moms. My son was having tantrums all the time and I was so tired of it. I was even more tired of all the people around me saying “wow, he sure does have a lot of tantrums. My kids never did that.” It made me so upset, but I honestly was convinced it was just a stage and I had no power or control over it. I was completely wrong. The more I read about tantrums, meltdowns, and power struggles, the more it inspired me to watch and analyze my kids real closely. I quickly realized that I was a huge reason why they were having tantrums often and that there actually was A LOT I could do to prevent them. So here are a few ways that you could be facilitating your child’s tantrums and some things you can do to change that!
Tantrums are hard. Not just for you, but for your child too. It’s hard to have so many crazy emotions happening inside your head and your body and not knowing how to handle them. And man are they hard on us. Often times we join in with them during their tantrums. They are upset and acting out and in turn we can’t control our temper and respond with yelling or other actions of frustration. Maybe you are the mom that is great at keeping your calm during the chaos, but everything you are trying doesn’t seem to be consistently working. Every child is different, every situation is different, and sometimes we can be part of the reason the tantrums happen. PART. Notice, I say part of, because of course tantrums are actually a normal event that takes place in a toddler’s life.
When the tantrum starts, you first need to assess YOURSELF before anything. Are you angry, annoyed, upset, irritable, stressed, etc? Or are you calm? If you aren’t, then get calm. Seriously, being calm is one of the best things you can do. Our little ones feed off of our emotions. So please try not to join them in the chaos! Take a deep breath and be ready to dive into figuring out how out how to help your little one. Notice that I mention “how to help your little one” rather than “getting the tantrum to stop.” It’s not just about getting them to stop crying, screaming, or throwing themselves around. It’s about helping them work through really big emotions, understanding them a little bit better, and finding a healthy way to move forward. This is another fantastic mindset change that YOU can make to help the tantrums. Always be in a “helping”mode rather than a disciplining mode. Is it really fair for us to try and discipline our child for expressing emotions? Or rather should we learn to help them express them in the right ways. This doesn’t mean let them do whatever they want, it just means it’s not productive to scold your child for not expressing their feelings correctly (I will get more into detail about this later.)
The third thing you need to assess about yourself is the atmosphere you could be creating for them. Is your little one in need of your attention? Have you been distracted on your phone all day or maybe watching TV? Have you been cooking or cleaning for a long period of time? What about your emotions? Are you stressed out or upset and showing it through your tone of voice or actions? All of these things can affect our kiddos. And finally…what caused the tantrum and could it have been YOU? Have you laid out everything for your child to understand clearly? Or did you tell them something and then change your mind. Keeping your promises is actually a huge deal when it comes to tantrums. First, because they can become very upset if you tell them they can have something and quickly change your mind. And second, if you don’t keep your promises regarding disciplinary actions, your child will never believe you in the first place. They won’t trust you and your words will have no hold up. In other words, your child will respect what you say less. Keep your promises.
The fourth way you could be aiding in your toddlers tantrums, is what you schedule for your toddler daily, if you are scheduling them at all. Toddlers love to learn and thrive when doing so. What do you think is going to happen to a toddler’s attitude and mind when they are in front of a screen all day. Or if they are stuck in a house doing the same thing over and over each day, left alone to their toys. I am not trying to be judgmental or hardcore, but if you aren’t actively giving your toddler activities that require them to use their brain, spark creativity, and learn something new, then you are part of the reason your toddler is having tantrums each day. Please, please, please turn off the screens. Look, even I am guilty of days where we watch too much TV. It happens. But, if you want the tantrums to stop you need to proactively be limiting screen time. Better yet, schedule the screen time and for the same time each day so your toddler knows when to expect their screen time and for how long. Which brings me to this…Having your toddler on a schedule is extremely beneficial. Toddler’s like to be in control and when they don’t know what to expect it can cause a power struggle. However if you are eating meals, having naps, playing, sleeping, bathing, learning, etc. roughly at the same time each day, then your child is less likely to freak out when you suggest that it is time for something. Of course, if your child is not on a schedule already, then you most likely have a good road ahead of you for getting them adjusted to a schedule. But, I promise it will be well worth it.
Let’s review the 4 mindset changes you need to make:
- Stay calm, the entire time
- Help them first rather than discipline
- Assess the environment and make changes as needed
- Keep your promises
- Stay on schedule the best you can
- Get your kiddo away from the screens
I have created a super cool road map for applying these 6 new mindsets, check it out!
Click here for a free download. The Meltdown Monitor