Isabelle has perfected the toddler tantrum at a mere 14 months old, these include pulling her own hair whilst screaming, banging her head off the floor, throwing herself on the floor, high pitched screaming and also the endless tears. Although I am mightily impressed that she can be so dramatic over the silliest smallest of things like a takeaway menu that she has pulled out of the bin or that bit of food she has stored away for later, it leaves me wondering if this is what it is like now, what will it be like when she reaches the infamous terrible twos?
I have visions of dragging her round a supermarket, probably by her feet as she screams for a kinder egg or a washing up brush which she seems to love at the moment. This thought does not please me in the slightest, it worries me. At the moment we ignore her tantrums and leave the room if we have to (she hasn’t quite figured out that she can follow us whilst throwing these tantrums just yet) but even though we ignore it they still continue and spiral from gritted teeth an clenched fists to full on tears and hair pulling. Maybe she will grow out of it? ……..or maybe she won’t
How do we correct bad behaviour? Is it even possible when they do not understand?
From what I understand is that Isabelle has these tantrums because she is frustrated or because we have removed an object/s from her. Would it be advisable to bargain with her? Can I take the pizza crust from her but provide her with something else at the same time? The answer is yes I can, it works, it stops the tantrums…..”here you go Isabelle, let mummy have that newspaper but here you can have a this shiny ball or a packet of raisins” so yes it works but I don’t feel as though it is helping the situation at all, so although it prevents the tantrum from happening, I would like her to give up her findings without taking a bribe.
Then there are the “no, I don’t want to nap” tantrums, my bribe doesn’t work in this situation. Even if she is clearly tired and struggling to stay awake she will fight at nap time. I’ve had two occasions this week where she has willingly gone down for a nap and it was glorious but the rest of the time I cannot say I had the same success. She will eventually nap and I am sure that it is not just my child that puts up resistance but what I never see are people talking about how they cope in those situations; surely some mothers have cracked it or have a trick or two up their sleeves?
So I am going to share my tips with you, admittedly they don’t prevent the tantrums but they have helped diffuse and lessen their existence
1) Routines – try and keep to a routine for meal times, nap times an bed times. I’ve found this really useful especially when planning our day. There’s nothing worse than a screaming tired and hungry toddler
2) Try to provide lots of time during the day for your child to let of steam, we do this by lots of dancing and running around (it also helps to tire them out so there is little resistance at nap/bed time….but shhh don’t tell them that)
3) Distractions, provide them with something different to play with
4) Remain calm, walk away if you have to
5) Choice, I always offer Isabelle a choice of things be it at play time, reading time, meal times etc. So even though I have control over what she is eating by offering two different pieces of fruit, Isabelle can select which one she wants.
6) Use positive parenting, include lots of praise throughout the day for good behaviour
7) Avoid shouting and harsh discipline, it will only fuel the tantrums and raise frustration levels and try to reduce the amount of negatives that you use like the word no, nothing is more frustrating to a toddler than hearing the word no. Replace them with words like “we can do that later” or “after you have had a nap/lunch”.
I’m hoping that Isabelle will grow out of these tantrums as she grows and can communicate her feelings and wants better, she’s only 14 months so I have a long way to go yet.
So for now I shall do the following