My child is a charm, those prepossessing lovely eyes that glares back at me with so much love. Her contagious giggles and oh, those squishy cuddles and sloppy kisses. Just as you think that you are nailing parenting, there comes the "Terrible Two's" like a boss. Let's face it- keeping your cool during a tantrum needs a lot of patience- and when the toddler tantrum is outside the home it is even more challenging.
Let me tell an incident before I elaborate on this topic. My husband, LittleD and I had been to a nearby zoo and she threw a tantrum to sit in the stroller. She sat on the footpath and started crying her lungs out. We made few heads turn but that's OK. All I did was stood there and gave her some time and asked her what she wants to do. She was unable to communicate but she immediately stopped crying and started walking. That is when we realized she wanted to walk and didn't want to sit back in the stroller. Trust me when I say this, she walked along side us for nearly 2 miles!! What if I had forced and buckled her up in the stroller?
The toddler years can be some of the most challenging for any parent, and probably for the child too. They might be going through a difficult time understanding the world around them. Toddler tantrums are a part and fact of childhood.
Tantrums is common for kids between the ages 1 and 4 as they haven’t developed coping skills yet. The reason behind the meltdown is that they cannot communicate what they need. Even if they try communicating, we might fail to understand which sets them off.
It gets uncontrollable when the child is of age 1-2. They will be in a process of learning to talk and trying to communicate for numerous needs such as diaper change, milk, food, toy which they like or need attention- but they do not have the language skills to pass on. This creates frustration and they tend to throw a fit.
When a child asks for attention, we should always make sure that we let them know they are heard. If they are unheard then that's the beginning of an outburst you cannot control later.
What follows are a few tips that can help you with such outbursts:
- A hug can do wonders a lot of times. A gentle hug without speaking a word allows them to settle down.
- Make sure you associate them to a “NO” or “STOP” word, so that they are aware when something is not right.
- Never over use the “NO” word as it will lose its importance.
- Allow them to vent their frustration out while you stand in front of them or give your child a pen/pencil and ask them to show their anger by a drawing. When they scribble they can get the frustration out and relax.
- Diversion is another best way to control tantrums in public.
- Spanking kids for disciplining will have adverse influence on the kids. Punishments can be in the form of time outs or a strict and firm voice.
- When your child doesn’t let you converse with someone else and constantly interrupts you, just hold their hand gently so that they know, you are listening.
- When they ask for something you cannot give just kneel down to them, have an eye contact and tell them why they cannot have it.
- It is totally fine if they cannot relate to what you are saying but they will know they shouldn’t ask for it again.
- Never walk away from a crying child as it will only worsen the tantrum.
- Just look into their eyes and let them know you are aware that they need you.
As they grow up they're keenly aware of their needs and desires. As a parent, be assertive and convey your views. Never feel embarrassed when a child has a public meltdown as their emotions takes over the reasoning and judgmental abilities. Let them know you will have your ears for everything they say and reciprocate.
How do you react when your child has a public meltdown? Share your views and stories in the comments section below.
Until next time.Sayonara!
Also read: Toddler Fears: #2 Fear of Strangers