It’s not easy being a new mom. You’re tired, sleep deprived (and not just from dreamy watching your precious little one asleep), hungry, your routines are changing, your child is barely 2 years old and here you are, endlessly questioning your parenting decisions and priorities. Yup, that, too, is part of parenthood. They are our little angels and we can no longer imagine our day-to-day without them, but they can be little devils, too. If you’ve ever been on a receiving end of a toddler’s tantrum, you know exactly what we mean. It seems that our little angels tend to pick the most public places for this and no matter what tactic you try, you end up giving in, feeling embarrassed or upset and quickly running away from yet another supermarket or restaurant, right? Something like this, maybe?
This scenario is all too familiar even to more experienced parents, but there are some ways you can get ahead of tantrums or cope with them in a productive manner, both for you and your child.
You remember how we said that it’s not easy being a mom? Well, it’s just as tough being two years old.Think about it: you want to do things yourself, but your body is just not listening; you want sweets for dinner, but mommy gives you veggies; you want to explain something but you are missing the words and nobody understands what you mean. What happens next? Yes, a tantrum. A tantrum is child’s normal and natural response to seeing that things don’t always go his or her way. They start discovering their own will, but don’t have the permission to act on it at all times. As parents, it is up to us to see things from their perspective and help them learn how to deal with emotions of tantrums: feeling dependent, angry and sad.
When you see the first signs of your child losing control and feel that tantrum coming on, here are some things you can do to prevent it from getting out of hand. Children learn from experience, so it’s important that you not give in (at least, not often), but rather follow through firmly, but lovingly. We’ve turned to the Montessori method to get you the most constructive tantrum advice, keeping yours and your child’s feeling and needs in mind.
- Be prepared – have a bag with some games and snacks if you are going to be waiting together at a doctor’s office or in a cafe.
- Make a deal with them if you are going to the supermarket and shake hands on it, this will give the child a sense of importance – “I’m sorry, but you and I already decided what to get, it’s not nice to break our deal. Maybe we’ll get it next time.”
- Acknowledge their feelings – “Wow, you really wanted stay longer, you must have enjoyed that”; “You really liked that juice, didn’t you?”
- Redirect them – “No, you can’t hit your brother, but you can hit this pillow.”
- Give them a choice – “Would you like to put on your shoes or your hat first?”
- Establish routines – “And after lunch we’ll go to potty, read and tuck in for a nice rest.”
- Let them express their anger creatively and try not to make them feel abandoned while they’re angry – “Show me how angry you are. Here is a paper and a crayon. Wow. Those are some big circles. You are really mad! Would you like to cuddle until it passes?”
Every child is different, so just keep rotating and trying different things in different situations until something works, and – trust us, eventually something will.