“Hell hath no fury like a toddler who’s sandwich has been cut into squares when they wanted triangles.”
Is your toddler effecting your mood in a negative way? Are they taking over daily activities? Do you want to bury your head in the sand when they misbehave in public? Then you are like me and realize it is time to tame the toddler tantrums.
It starts as the “terrible two’s” which really begin before age two and last well into age three, which has now been coined as the age of the “threenager.” I fell victim to it when our son was about 1.5 years of age, but a lot of his tantrums came from a frustration of being a late bloomer verbally. Our daughter, who spoke well before her first birthday did not have that same problem, but has given me a run for my money ever since she decided she could do things on her own.
There are so many stories to tell of our struggles dealing with these toddler tantrums; too many to share them all. But I will share one of our daughter around age two who was having yet another tantrum about who knows what. I swear some days you just look at them wrong and they start malfunctioning. This particular day she was having a fit outside before we were heading to the park. It could have been she didn’t like the shoes I was putting on her or that I was making her wear a sweater. You know…the really upsetting things in life (enter eye roll). We get half way down the street and she just couldn’t move on, so my son and I kept walking and stopped at the end of the street waiting for her. I could see her the entire time and unfortunately I could also hear her. A passerby commented “Oh, poor baby, what’s wrong?” I remember thinking “poor baby? really? What about poor mommy? I’m the one that has to listen and destruct this massive meltdown.”
Long story short we did finally make it to the park and life went on as normal. But one thing that hasn’t really been resolved are the outbursts. I’ve tried lots of different avenues, but my very strong-willed little girl seems to know how to push all my buttons. I literally cried the other night to my husband saying “some days she just brings out the worst in me.”
I started looking around for more parenting advice, since no one around me seemed to grasp the magnitude of our issues. I got an email from Boys Town, an online resource for parents struggling with any kind of issue with their children or teens. Boys Town is home to parenting and child behavior experts who have developed original content over the years and it is available to anyone for FREE.Check out these awesome parenting tips from @BoysTown that helped me tame my toddler tantrums! #parentingwin Click To Tweet
I have just started my journey with their parenting series and of course the first one that I chose was the “toddler series.” There were 5 short articles that dealt with toddler behavior/misbehavior, discipline, self-control and even following instructions. I found all five articles very informative and was able to take away something valuable from each one.
One of the first pieces of advice that caught my attention was when you are disciplining your child make sure you keep your words simple and short. Their suggestion is to only use sentences that are twice their age. So, since my daughter is three we should only be using a total of six words when we are telling her a directive statement. My mistake is I often think she can handle more because she tends to act so grown up at times, but in truth she is only three and I need to remember to keep my words more direct. I have been working on it this week and although sometimes it is hard to remember, especially if you have older children, she seems to get the point quickly, even if she doesn’t like it.
Another suggestion that I really loved was the idea of catching them when they are being good. I thought I did this often, but turns out I needed to step it up a notch. So this week I made sure that whenever she listened and obeyed the first time I made a comment to her about her good listening skills. I would say “what a great listener you are Rosie,” or “it makes mommy so happy when you listen and obey.” She was immediately elated that her good behavior was being noticed.
Another part of the emails that made the advice from Boys Town more practical was that they gave you suggestions on what to practice during that week. So one week they suggested playing “Simon Says” to get your toddler playing a game where they are listening and obeying to the parents instructions. We love to play this game and I never thought how it is a great way to get your kids to unknowingly follow your directions. Then they gave steps on how your child should learn to take instructions; Look- look at the person talking to you, Say- say okay as soon as the person is done talking, Do- do what you have been asked right away, Check Back- check back when you are finished.
These are just some of the tips in the toddler series that we have been working on in our home. There were lots of other great suggestions and I highly recommend reading them all and checking out their other topics at boystown.org/parenting. How have you been handling your toddlers tantrums?