Tantrums, a stage that every child goes through but that doesn’t make it any easier on us mums.
It is one of the hardest stages of my oldest daughter’s early years I had to navigate. I have the knowledge of what I should do with my years of experience working with children but in reality, when you bring the love & mum guilt into a situation it is so much harder to put into practice.
Tantrums normally co-inside with your child starting to gain independence but not quite having the skills to be fully independent or the communication to express their needs, wants & feelings.
For Leila this certainly was the case & because she was so independent, I often forgot how little she was & sometimes expected more from her. She may have been acting like a child who was 4/5 at 3 years but she didn’t have the full comprehension & understanding of one yet.
Some children will just have a little temper tantrum & then move on quickly but others tantrums will be to the extreme. Leila’s were & once a tantrum started it would continue for a good 45 minutes to an hour.
The worst moment for me was on a day out with friends, it started off a lovely day but quickly escalated. Leila wouldn’t listen & kept wandering off through the forest, so I gave her a few warnings about having to leave & go home.
She didn’t listen, so I followed through & said we were going home. This is moment it all went wrong, Leila picked up a huge tree branch used for den building & hit me over the head! I was in shock & pain, so I picked her up & started carrying her the mile back to the car park. Leila completely lost it, she was trying to climb out of my arms & at 1 point straddling my shoulder, she lost control of her bladder 3 times in her tantrum & by the time we got back to the car, we were both in tears & soaked in wee.
It was this tantrum that made me think I can’t continue dealing with her tantrums in the way I have been, it was ineffective & I needed to get a practical system in place to help both of us. I decided to take all of the knowledge of what you should do & combine it with practical ways that worked for us & when I started following them, I noticed a big improvement in her tantrums. It wasn’t overnight & she still had the occasional tantrum but they were so much more manageable when they did happen.
So how did I do it, that’s what you want to know right?
Now for me & for lots of families that I have worked with, the key was putting some foundations in & working on those rather than dealing with a tantrum whilst it is happening.
Here’s my top 3 tips to help:
If we stop & think there is always certain situations which you will find your toddler or child will react to, so think about these situations that may cause an issue & then try to plan how you can adapt to avoid a tantrum or what you will do if your child does have a tantrum.
Our children have lots to learn & understand in the first few years of their lives & so much they are experiencing for the first time. It is important that we give them to tools to not only understand but also communicate & then release or regulate their emotions.
They can learn & practice these tools through play & there are lots of fab activities to do so, try to offer them ways that you can label & show the different emotions they might feel – positive & negative plus give them ways to safely release their emotions too, it’s not good to keep them inside & dismiss them.
How we react can mean the difference from a tantrum escalating or being diffused. So try to remain calm, with a soft & slow voice when your talk to them, also put yourself in their shoes & understand that their is a reason for them feeling this way & you can help them.
Remember that every child is different & are their own unique little person so always be mindful when you are dealing with a tantrum, our main focus it to help them understand, communicate & manage their emotions which is going to give them the tools to confidently navigate difficult situations as they get older.
If you would love or need more support on tantrums & helping your child understand & deal with their emotions, check out my Masterclass on Handling Big Emotions & Tantrums.
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