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It’s one of the post embarrassing moments for any parent; tantrum time, and it always seems to happen when you’re at brunch, at the park, or in the grocery aisle. The root of a tantrum is actually pretty simple. Your kid isn’t throwing a fit because he’s a spoiled brat or because he lacks parenting. Tantrums happen when children…
None of these causes are your fault and they aren’t trying to manipulate you or punish you for something. Still, they have to work to control themselves if they’re to become healthy adults.
Here are some ways you can calm those tantrums.
1. Meet all basic needs timely
Before you leave the house for a few hours, be sure that you’ve met your child’s needs. Have they eaten? Even if so, bring snacks. Are they tired? You aren’t planning to be busy during nap times, are you? Leave a few small toys or books in your car so they have something to do in case of boredom.
2. Keep them on a schedule
Sticking to schedules helps your kids feel like they are in control. They won’t be anxious about what’s happening or what to expect. Serve meals and naps at the same time. Give baths at the same time and go through the same bedtime routine every night. If you leave the house for a few hours, do it at the same time (usually first thing after breakfast or after naps).
3. Reduce how often you say “no.”
This doesn’t mean to be a lazy parent. It just means to find ways to not overly restrict your child so they don’t feel like everything is a restriction. You can do this in two ways: 1) Relax a bit. Is it so bad that they’re standing on their toy box? Sure, they’ll fall, but it’s not that far and there’s a lesson in that. 2) Manage your environment so restrictions are organic. For example, adding child locks to your cabinets stops them from messing with dangerous items without you being the bad guy.
4. Give lots of daily exercise
It’s hard to get mad when you’re tired! Be sure you’re providing plenty of active play at least once a day so they burn off that toddler energy.
5. Ignore the tantrum
Some kids are smart enough to know that a dramatic scene will get your attention so you’ll give them what they want. Don’t give in by responding. Ignore them entirely until they calm down to make it absolutely clear that tantrums are not a valid way of communicating.
6. Respond softly
When someone else is yelling, it’s easy to get caught up in it. Don’t return with your own shouting. Speak in a quiet, measured tone. Eventually the moment will pass and your will calm down and listen to what you’re saying.
7. Touch can be soothing
When your child is full-on screaming, you won’t be able to reason with him, no matter your tone. Touch is often the best way to communicate. Hold him to you. If he won’t sit with you, maintain some form of contact that gives him/her assurance.
8. Let it blow over
Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. Your child has lost control of his emotions and he’s melting down. The best thing you can do is let it happen. Make sure he’s safe (if he’s running around or swinging wildly) and let it burn out. Eventually the anger will pass and you’ll be able to have a calm discussion about what happened. Don’t be judgmental, but offer solutions to prevent it from happening again.
9. Bring the child to your breast
Skin to skin contact can be very calming for a mother and child. When breastfeeding, a mother’s body releases the hormones prolactin and oxytocin, both have a calming effect on mother and child. This immediate closeness and bonding can alleviate any underlying anxiety or insecurity that may have triggered the tantrum.
How do you deal with tantrums?
Written by Melissa LaHann, Founder and CEO of Happy Fig, LLC
Like many moms before her, Melissa cradled her hungry, crying baby as she clumsily adjusted her bra and sat uncomfortably holding up her shirt. Before she knew it, her baby was squirming, her shirt was falling, and the nursing session was interrupted. She needed a better solution, so she created LatchPal, the first nursing clip of its kind.
LatchPal is a breastfeeding shirt clip that holds up a mother’s shirt during breastfeeding. It eliminates shirt re-positioning and feeding disruptions, and helps a mom nurse hands-free in comfort to maximize milk flow. LatchPal was designed with moms in mind. The multi-use solution only requires one hand to latch. It’s a must-have breastfeeding accessory and essential for post-partum moms, pumping moms, and nursing in public.
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