Brooke Tucker-Reid, momstown Writer
The more I parent, the more I realize some things our precious little bundles of joy do are mind-bogglingly unavoidable. Like the dreaded tantrum.
Like was it really necessary to lose your mind for ten minutes because we didn’t own the colour spoon you so desperately wanted to use? Sometimes I try to understand and other times I just manage. I try to stay consistent in my approach, but my daughter isn’t overly consistent with her dramatic mood swings either so I do my best. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.
Find your inner calm – before approaching a temper tantrum, try to neutralize your own mood. You’ll only escalate the situation further by raising your voice at your child because you’re stressed or angry too. You’re the role model so take a few deep breaths and put things into perspective before attempting to de-escalate the situation.
Talk them down – I feel like I could be a professional negotiator after talking my way out of a couple recent mega-tantrums. Keep your voice low and calm, and try to reason with your child. Explain why you made the decision that caused them to be upset. In the future, try to involve them in the decision-making process to further their understanding.
Learn from experience – do you know what triggers your child? I sure don’t but I’m learning more and more every day. For instance, my daughter started kicking and screaming while getting dressed in the mornings so I started asking for her input. We’d choose her outfits together and the tantrums dwindled down.
SQUIRREL! – Diverting my child’s attention while she’s losing her mind has proven to be a successful tactic, especially by signing her favourite songs or pulling out a sticker book. As she gets older though, her memory gets better and this technique becomes less effective.
Choose your battles – this past winter, it really irked my daughter when I tried to take her coat off before she was ready. Sometimes that resulted in full meals clad in her finest faux-fur Old Navy parka, hummus lining her sleeves by the end of the meal. Some things just aren’t worth the struggle.
Ride it out – safety is key here. Make sure your little tyke can’t do any harm to themselves by helping them to a carpeted, open area. Then let them go nuts while you keep your distance. Some kids learn they can get what they want my making enough of a scene so let them get over it on their own. And if none of that works for you, there’s always wine.