In just two short days my sweet little girl turns 2. While she isn’t officially two yet, she hasn’t let that stop her from introducing us to some pretty crazy behavior. So many moms warned me that the “terrible twos” would rear their ugly head early. Now, I wouldn’t call Addison terrible, but she does have her share of toddler meltdowns.
Here are 5 ways I have learned to survive the inevitable toddler tantrum:
1. Have A Routine
Above all else, I have learned that all kids thrive off of a routine. As human beings we like to know what is expected of us and what’s coming next. If we stick to a routine, the number of tantrums are very very low. I’ve realized that having a routine at home makes me more productive and makes me feel like I made meaningful connections with my daughter all day long and that keeps us both in a good mood.
Hopefully you can keep it together enough not to laugh in your child’s face, but when your toddler has a meltdown over something silly, its hard not to giggle. Addison’s latest source of frustration has been the Little People not staying in their school bus when she tips it upside down. She will throw herself on the ground, throw the bus down, and sob like she is injured. Maybe I don’t take this parenting thing as seriously as I should, but I have a hard time stifling the laughter. The good news is, if your laughing, you aren’t counting down the minutes until nap time.
If your toddler is like mine, they can have a meltdown over nothing. Sometimes after her nap Addison will be so distraught over simply waking up. I have no clue what triggers it, but it can be pretty frustrating when she wakes up in an awful mood. The best thing to do during this situation is redirect her attention so that she forgets that she’s upset. Our weapon of choice in this scenario is Nilla Wafers. (Disclaimer: I’m an awful mom who gives her kid sugar, oops!)
4. Walk Away
If things are getting pretty crazy and Addison won’t let me soothe her I simply walk away. I will let her work through her feelings by herself while I busy myself with something else. This helps me not to get frustrated or upset and it allows Addison to work out her feelings and calm down a bit. Sometimes this involves watching her cry and throw herself on the floor but hey, thats her prerogative.
This approach has mixed reviews on according to parenting specialist but I really do think it depends on your child. If Addison is really upset and I have tried all the other approaches she is usually getting more upset by the minute. I’m sure some kids do not benefit from being ignore but sometimes it’s exactly what my daughter wants. In this situation Addison is usually just sitting in my lap crying. I’m there for her emotionally but I am not engaging with her behavior.
By far the best tool for each of these approaches is staying calm and reminding yourself not to take the tantrum personally. Little people have very underdeveloped brains, specifically the region where reasoning occurs. This area of the brain doesn’t mature until our early to mid-TWENTIES! So keep that in mind when your kid has turned into a unrecognizable monster and remind yourself that you’re a kick ass mama.
(Disclaimer: My daughter is gracious enough to save 90% of her tantrums for when we are home alone. These are all tips I use while in the comfort of our small apartment and I realize they may not be so helpful when you are dragging your two year-old down the produce isle. In this case, bring lots of Nilla Wafers.)