Your little angel has turned into a terrorist. Tantrums are the order of the day, both at home and in public. A recent article on Moomie revealed that the terrible twos are a completely normal part of a child’s development and for the most part nothing to worry about.
Here are some tips to help manage you and your child’s emotions during these trying times.
A child who knows what to expect during the day is less likely to become overwhelmed. Establish certain routines, like a set bath and bedtime, and stick to them. Also create rules and boundaries that are reasonable and stick to them.
Encourage your child to talk
Tantrums are often caused by a child’s inability to express their feelings and desires. Teach your child the words that they’ll need to tell you if they’re tired, sore, thirsty or hungry, and encourage them to use those words.
Give positive attention
Children thrive when they’re praised. Make sure your child knows that you notice that they’re doing something good or clever – even if it’s a small thing, by praising them with words or giving them a hug.
Give them control over things
As your baby gets older, they also become more independent and want to do things themselves, to be like the adults and older children around them. Allow your young child to “help” you with tasks around the house. Perhaps they can hand the clothes pegs to you when you hang the laundry, or let them wash their own, plastic dishes. For older children, you can give them choices that help them feel in control. For example, ask: “Would you like an apple or a banana?”
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Toddlers are natural explorers. Their experimentation is a crucial part of their development. If your little one wants to leave the house in mismatched clothing, let them be. Save your energy for more important things.
Acknowledge their feelings
Once your child’s meltdown is over, talk to them about what they may have been feeling, like anger or sadness, so that they feel acknowledged and can begin to understand and label what they’re feeling.
Prevent, protect, and redirect
You’re the expert on your child’s behaviour. Try to predict and prevent possible tantrums by creating “yes” spaces in your home where your child can play freely without being tempted to play with breakable ornaments or on fancy furniture. If your child does have a tantrum, protect yourself, your child and others around you from injury – if your child is kicking, for example. In some cases, you can redirect a tantrum or looming meltdown by distracting your child and redirecting their attention to something else.
The most important thing if your child is having a tantrum, either at home or in public, is to stay calm. Getting angry, worked up or emotional will only add fuel to the fire. Ignore bad behavior, don’t give in to your child’s demands, but make sure they know you’re there for them once they’ve calmed down. If your child has a meltdown in public, try to move them to a quieter area, where they can compose themselves.
While most tantrums are a completely normal part of your child growing up, please consult your doctor if your child’s behavior doesn’t seem normal.
Written by Gabi Falanga