Parenting a toddler is hard. Gone is your warm snuggly immobile baby bundle and in its place is a wilful bundle of curious energy fighting for control and independence and causing you much heartache, frustration and embarrassment – particularly when they tantrum in public, on a shopping trip, at a family party, in front of your friend and their perfect, non tantruming children and worst of all in the presence of your mother-in-law.
How do you cope with your toddler’s tantrums? Do you use behavioural techniques such as naughty steps, time out, stickers and rewards or perhaps you just ignore your toddler when they misbehave? Do you wish you knew more ways of coping with the ‘terrible twos’ (and ones and threes and fours!)?
Isn't it funny – when we’re pregnant we go to antenatal classes and learn everything we can about labour and birth, we educate ourselves with breastfeeding workshops and postnatal classes such as baby massage – but then when we need help the most – the toddler years – the classes all stop, save for the activity classes such as gym classes, music, art, sport and the like – what if there were classes and workshops that could help you to understand your toddler?
The reasons for the behaviour, the science behind it and most importantly of all – a place to learn coping techniques that really work and are beneficial to the whole family?
This is what ToddlerCalmTM
does. We are an exciting new company offering unique toddler calming classes for parents of 1 to 4 year olds, helping parents to cope with toddler tantrums, picky eating and sleep problems, all from only £35. Here is just a snippet of what we cover in classes:
5 Ways to Cope with Toddler Tantrums:
Understand what normal toddler behaviour is, the chances are your toddler is behaving perfectly normally for their age, yet knowing something is normal makes it a lot easier to deal with. At ToddlerCalmTM we believe it is important to understand how a toddler’s brain develops and what they are physically capable of doing and understanding. For instance did you know that toddlers are incapable of understanding other’s feelings? Or why sharing is important? They just don’t have the brain capacity! Similarly toddlers do not have the ability to regulate their emotions and behaviour as we do, they literally ‘flip out’ during a tantrum and even if they wanted to control their feelings and calm down, they can’t. They need our help for that.
- Try to see things from your toddler’s point of view. How might they be feeling? How were they feeling before the tantrum? During? After? Empathy for your toddler can be eye opening! Understand that your toddler is absolutely not doing this to manipulate you or wind you up – granted it feels like that sometimes but they really aren’t, they are going through such a tricky time, their behaviour is their way of expressing it – it is absolutely never plotted and planned to embarrass you.
- Instead of ignoring your toddler during a tantrum try to comfort them, a tantrum is scary for them – they can’t control their emotions like we can, a big hug is often much more effective and positive in the long term than the usual ‘ignore it’ advice. Communicate at your toddler’s level – literally, bend down so you are at eye level with them and use simple words and short sentences. Don’t forget a hug is communication too – you are saying “it’s OK, I’m here for you, I love you”.
- Describe the behaviour you want from your toddler e.g: “we use gentle hands” rather than what you don’t want e.g: “don’t hit people”. Your toddler’s brain processing works differently from yours, if you keep repeating “don’t do this” followed by the undesirable behaviour you may as well be telling your toddler to do it! Also give names to your toddler’s feelings – e.g: “I can see you are angry”, “that really made you sad when he took your toy didn’t it?” it will help your toddler to understand what they are feeling and later, when they are more vocal, they will be able to tell you how they are feeling, rather than having to rely on crying, whining, biting or hitting as a way to express their feelings.
- Give your toddler as many choices as you can, e.g: lay out 3 different outfits in the morning and let them choose, it’s amazing how a bit of control can improve a toddler’s behaviour, after all they don’t have much control over any other aspect of their lives. Play can be wonderfully helpful at helping your toddler to feel in control of their world and also as a way to help them release scary emotions, try painting their anger, modelling their sadness out of playdough etc…Try to never direct their play, as frustrating as it is when they are painting a tree pink when you know of course it should be green, or when they put the puzzle piece in the wrong way round for the 20th time – it is important they do things themselves, their way.
If you would like to learn more please visit www.toddlercalm.com