Tantrums. Every toddler has them. Every parent hates them. My husband and I try to follow more respectful parenting and positive parenting techniques with some of our own discipline mixed in of course. This style of parenting takes a little more time when big emotions arise. For the most part though Bowen is very calm and cool. Unless he feels his needs/wants are not being met. Which I can understand would be frustrating not being able to communicate with words. As of right now at 21 months old he says mama, dada, dog, yes, dog, more, ball. He is slightly behind on his speach and will be evaluated soon to see if he will need therapy. I’m listing a few things that seem to be working at the moment for any mama’s who want to take a more loving approach to their upset toddler.
1. Get on his level and open my hands
I do this almost everytime if I am able. All of the parenting books and blog posts that I have read on positive parenting says to create a safe environment that your child feels confortable enough to Express their big emotions. So if he starts bursts out crying while I’m making dinner or doing dishes (in effort to get my attention. He is usually holding my leg beside me) I stop. Go to him and gently get on his level. Even though he doesn’t use his words yet I will say calmly ” what’s the matter, how can I make you feel better?” Or ” I see you are upset, how can I make you feel better” Then he will usually stop crying and respond with the sweetest whimpering baby babble. He is trying to explain to me why he is upset. Also by me being so close and on his level we have no choice but to have solid eye contact while in discussion. So then I will respond by giving him a big hug and a kiss tell him “I love you and I’m here if you need me” and redirect him to a game, book, snack, juice, toys. He usually is over whatever made him upset under 1 minute. Then I can finish whatever task I need. When he would cry before doing my research I used to say ” you’re okay, you’re okay” trying to just diffuse the situation and that would just make him more upset. I would be running around trying to finish dinner with a screaming toddler. 🙃 Save yourself and just show them love and respect for the real emotions that they are feeling.
2. Giving him space
I am so blessed to get to stay home full time with Bowen! Thanks to my sexy ass hard working husband. Sometimes Bowen and I get tired of each other lol. He just does not want me around him and playing with his toys. He also does not want to be alone obveoulsly. This is when I will turn to something he can do on his own. Like coloring or blocks. This gives him time to concentrate on something else besides being upset with me. Usually just 5 or 10 minutes of independent play and he is ready to be held again!
3. Let them Express themselves
For the first year I thought that any cry/noise I needed to soothe my baby. Usually they are crying for a need when they are newborns and babies but when you reach about 18 months things change. Sometimes children are annoyed or irritated just like us! Respecting their emotions, talking about them, and then moving on or finding a solution, has worked much better than trying to quiet down the tantrum. Talk to them and let them know “I hear your upset” ” let’s do this to try and make you feel a little better.” I promise for the public tantrums this is your best bet. And ALWAYS go to a private place if you are in public and your toddler is throwing a tantrum. Number one it’s common courtesy to innocent bystanders. Number two if you were really upset you wouldn’t want everyone staring at you! They are people just like us and they expierience fear, anger, pain, anxiety, and irritability. Our job as parents is to teach them how to respond to those emotions not join in on their chaos.
I hope this helps and remember to have grace with yourself and your toddler! You’re doing great! 🕊