The transition from baby to toddler, from pure little being who cannot say one word to this little person who now has all these emotions and a new found attitude. At first this attitude seen in your little one can be found to be funny and cute but after a little while it just stops being cute and it becomes something that needs to be dealt with.
Mamas, I’m tired. Eli has been going through a toddler tantrum stage, where he hits, kicks and screams at the top of his lungs with some added floor rolls for extra dramatic effect. I thought that I was the dramatic one but no Eli takes the cake! These tantrums have been happening often and over just about anything; trying to feed him, being too slow to bring his water, saying no or if he drops a toy, anything and everything seems to set him off. As a parent this can be worrying and frustrating and just exhausting. When this happens sometimes I start to judge myself and wonder if it is something I’m doing wrong. Where is this behaviour coming from? This is how I have been feeling the past few days; super down, anxious and just self loathing. My older son is ten years old so I haven’t had to deal with toddler tantrums in a long time and I don’t remember him being so bad. Also my pure innocent little being is not even two years old yet and I wonder if this normal or is this a sign of something bigger.
So I decided to do some research and try different approaches and see what works.
What I learnt is that toddler tantrums are a normal part of child development.
With babies 12-24 months old, tantrums are rarely a sign of aggression but more a way of self expression. Babies who cannot talk yet struggle to express themselves and this can be frustrating for them and so they express themselves the only way they know how by throwing a tantrum.
With toddlers aged 2-4 years old, tantrums are usually due to them being tired, hungry, hurt, uncomfortable, wanting more one on one time with you or overwhelmed by a certain situation.You get the three basic types of tantrums; Emotional tantrum, Needs tantrum and Power tantrum.
Emotional Tantrums are tantrums that have to do with emotional regulation, an overwhelming feeling of emotion.
This is when you need to ask yourself?
• Has he/she hurt himself/herself?
• Does he/she want more one on one time with me?
• Are they frustrated?
• Are they overwhelmed with a certain situation?
• Are they struggling to complete a simple task by themselves?
Needs tantrums are usually the common answers to these tantrums.
• Are they hungry?
• Are they tired?
• Do they need stimulation?
• Are they in need of some affection?
Power tantrums are all about testing authority and finding their own independence.
• Are they just wanting something they can't have?
• Do they just want to try something by themselves like eating with a spoon?
I believe that these apply to adults too, sometimes when you are feeling down, all you need to do is ask yourself if you are hungry, tired, or sad and just maybe in need of affection which can come in many forms. Often as parents we give so much of ourselves away that we completely forget to take care of ourselves. Remember that a happy parent equals a happy child; the better you feel, the easier it will be to take care of someone else. Eat, keep hydrated and just for one hour, try and do something for you, self love like take a bath or call a friend and just have a laugh, conversations go a long way.
Mamas and Dadas, if you become still and take a deep breath, you will know the difference between the tantrums and this will help you attend to your child. What we need to remember is that children are still figuring their emotions out and we are here to guide and help them from a place of love and not frustration or anger. Never deal with a situation regarding a child in anger. We need to be sensitive to our children’s emotions and needs.
One important rule of parenting is that both parents, grandparents, any caregivers, need to be on the same page regarding the rules. Wherever the toddler goes, the samerules need to apply otherwise this can leave your toddler feeling really confused and frustrated as to why one person allows something and the other one doesn’t. This can also lead to huge relationship blowouts. Remember to always try and approach a situation and conversation coming from a calm place of love,easier said than done, I know!
Ways to reduce Tantrums
• Make sure regular naps are being taken
• Make sure your child is being well fed and kept hydrated
• Make sure you are spending enough one on one time with your child
• Hugs and kisses go a long way; Enough affection
• Make sure your child is being stimulated with different activities
• Let your child know they are loved
I know far too well that this is all easier said than done, having to watch someone and make sure that they are okay and happy 100% of the time is a big enough task especially if you have more than one child but life also happens and there aregoing to be days where you are running late with lunch or your baby has missed his nap time and maybe you a working mom and you are just overloaded with deadlines. Don’t be hard on yourself when this happens, we all have these days and it's okay, tomorrow you get to try again, these are just tools to help you along the way.
Ways to help the situation
• Stay calm
• Take a moment
• Always stay close by, never walk away, this way they feel safe and secure knowing you are there
• Wait it out
Sometimes you need to just let them roll around and tantrum it out and afterwards when they have calmed down, address the situation. Elijah is only a few months past one years old and he cannot speak, if I do choose to wait a tantrum out, Istay close by so he feels acknowledged and safe but I carry on doing what I’m doing. Eventually when he is ready he will come to me and I’ll say what happened and what's wrong and that is not the way to behave. He cannot speak so I know this sounds ridiculous but I can tell he feels loved and heard and he responds in his own language. A trick I also have up my sleeve is to play with one of his toys or start an activity if I know this is a power tantrum and that usually just grabs his attention and he actually forgets that he was upset in the first place. Also sometimes thetantrums can just be so overpowering that it doesn’t stop which usually means he is tired and that's when I just hold him and rock him to sleep.
Mamas and Dadas, I know sometimes parenthood can seem difficult and overwhelming but remember that you were chosen to have this child which means that somewhere inside you, you have what it takes and more, believe in yourself and your ability, you got this!