Toddler tantrums – the bane of every parents’ existence. Tolerable (just) in the privacy of your own home, cringe-worthy at the very least when out in public. Screaming, crying, rolling around on the floor… it’s enough to put even the most clucky of women off wanting to start a family of their own. I’m a firm believer that sex ed would be much more effective in schools if students were exposed to newborn poo-namis and toddler tantrums – they’d never take the risk again!
Everyone talks about the terrible twos but I think that eighteen months is where it’s at. CJ currently has all the feelings but he just isn’t quite verbal enough to express what he’s upset about. That, and we’re still working on patience – he wants things and he wants them now. All of this combines in one pint-sized powder keg… and you don’t want to be around when it explodes. Or you might want a flak jacket!
There are three things we find works for us:
Food – our wee dude takes after M-Daddy when it comes to food and boy, can he get HANGRY. At the Baby Show last weekend we thought we’d be safe for about an hour after arriving but made the mistake of stopping at the Get Real For Kids stand and sampling the Smuggler Nuggets. Big mistake. CJ does not understand the idea of sampling. He did not understand why we were leaving and he couldn’t eat the rest of the nuggets on the plate… cue MASSIVE meltdown. The ladies at Rafferty’s Garden rushed over with a entire box of their new snack bars and once we managed to get one in his mouth (amidst the thrashing and carrying on), all was right with the world again. We did go back and buy some of those nuggets too 🙂
Singing – when CJ was little, the song that would calm him down was Home on The Range. Sometimes when he’s throwing a fit we can calm him down by cradling him and rocking him as we sing the song. This is getting harder as he grows though – he’s getting close to a metre tall and is insanely strong, so it’s hard to hold him if he doesn’t want to be held.
Removal – getting the heck out of dodge. Sometimes the tantrum is because he’s finding a situation overwhelming or he just doesn’t want to be there. While we don’t want to bow down and make him a toddler “king”, sometimes it is just easier to get him out of the situation, calm him down and then explain what we are going to do. Quite often if we say something like “I know the music in that shop is a bit loud, but mummy just needs to get X, Y & Z and then we’ll go for a walk” it solves the situation – but there’s no way that he would hear that mid-tantrum. Talking him out, letting him calm down and then returning is often our go-to move.
I certainly don’t think that we have our head around all the possible solutions and if you have something you use I would love to hear it. Solidarity, toddler mums!