Thursday, November 17, 2011

Toddler Talk Thursday - Temper Tantrums

Welcome to Toddler Talk Thursday hosted by Family and life in Las Vegas, Life of a Sippy Cup Mom, and Crazy About my Baybah!

This weeks topic is
How do you handle toddler temper tantrums?

There are so many ways to "handle" a temper tantrum, and I'm pretty sure I've tried them all! I kind of feel like a pro in this area (still undecided if that's a good thing to be a pro at or not....).  When we first started experiencing temper tantrums with Princess V, it frustrated us. I think mostly because we didn't understand her, and she didn't understand us. We used a lot of time outs.  Eventually I started realizing that this didn't fix the problem.  We'd just reset and repeat, day after day. 
So I started looking for the root of the problem?  Was she throwing a tantrum because she needed more attention, because she couldn't communicate with us yet, or because she was tired?  These are the 3 main reasons I find cause tantrums in toddlers. Now Princess V is no longer a toddler, and I feel some of her tantrums are more a battle of wills, then the other 3 things I mentioned. So I'll get back to her in a bit.

If the tantrum is caused by lack of attention, I get down on their level. I quickly evaluate what I've been spending my time doing, and cut back on housework, blogging, and anything else that my attentino was  being drawn to. When I get on their level, they get that attention they need. Sometimes, it's just a hug, but more often that not, they need to feel special. So we bake together, play dolls, read books, and dress up. 

If the tantrum is caused by lack of communication, I must slow down, and figure out what it is they are wanting. Most of Princess R's tantrums usually come from this communication barrier. She has figured out a great way to communicate with us though. No it's not through signing, though I wish I was better at teaching that. It is a great way for toddlers to communicate. We did use it with Princess V, and the change was wonderful! Princess R though, will grab hold of our hand, and lead us to whatever it is she needs/wants. If she wants a drink, she takes us to the kitchen. She can get her own cups, since we put them on her level. So once we're in the kitchen she will give us her cup, and then either wait for us to put something in it, or try and open the fridge on her own. Sometimes we still have the barrier of communication if I give her the wrong drink, like water or juice instead of milk, vice versa.  So we take the time to point and say each drink. When we get to the one she wants she smiles and nods her head.

If the tantrum is caused by being tired, which many are. We just grab pillows and blankets, and all lay down together. Sometimes it's in front of the tv, sometimes it's in our beds, and we grab some books to read.  Other times, it just means we go to bed early.

Now back to Princess V. She's not a toddler anymore, but I'd like to prepare you toddler moms for what's to come! The battle of wills!  I believe Princess V likes testing her boundaries. Being the oldest, she likes to get bossy, and when things don't go the way she wants them to, a tantrum will usually ensue.  I find at times like these, it's best to give her some space. Instead of sending her to a time out, we have her "take a break" in her bedroom. She can play with her toys in there, read books, or sit and cry. We just won't allow the tantrum to be held all over the house. This for the most part works. She gets time away from her siblings to play by herself, and think about what happened. Most of the time she understands why she had to take a break, and will apologize. Other times, she doesn't understand what happened. I always try to make sure to calmly tell her what about her behavior was wrong, so she understands and can try not to repeat it.

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