Saturday, 25 June 2016

What Moms Google - Toddler Tantrums

It's time for #whatmomsgoogle where two sleep deprived mom bloggers team up to answer the questions moms google about kids three and under! We don't promise to be right but we do promise to be real.

Today we're talking about a very special kind of tiny human: The Toddler.

While the dictionary defines a toddler as a small child just learning to walk, we all know that toddlers are a distinct group characterized by certain identifiable traits.

What traits? I'm so glad you asked. Let's turn to our good friend, Google.


Interesting. Now that we've covered some of your toddler's favourite activities, let's see what you have to look forward to the teensy tot grows.



Shaunacey and I have already lamented about sleep and I don't know about you but my heart can't take that kind of discouragement again. 

Whether it's intentional violence or strange facial hair (Are there a lot of uni-browed toddlers out there? That Bert on Sesame Street. Bringing diversity one step further), toddlers have one thing in common. 

Feelings. Big ones. Lots of them. Sometimes in the same minute.

So let's take a moment to really appreciate some real life toddler emotions.
 
Once I tried to wear my hair in a ponytail. Remember that?



Sometimes I cry in the bath too.


I feel exactly the same way when someone eats all my snacks.



And in life you just have to fake it till you make it. She's very convincing.



Fabricating your world is exhausting and unending work. No wonder toddlers shun naps and end up in full on tantrum mode.

Today's google question came from an anonymous message we received: 
Why is my toddler an @$*#(@!?
 
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon barack obama tonight show president obama point
I see you. I hear you (via Giphy)

In our infinite wisdom, we realized that this question is pretty broad and could basically take us all the way to December. From pooping on the floor to life discussions at 3am, toddlers have some fairly unreasonable and unpopular pastimes. So, we decided to narrow the question (for now) to:  

How do I deal with my toddler's tantrums?

In her post today, Shaunacey gives some extremely reasonable examples (ha!) of reasons for toddler meltdowns and some (honest-to-goodness) great tips for identifying and dealing with tantrums.

If you're living with the strange and fickle creature known as a toddler, Chantel's post on Raising a Highly Sensitive Child - Tips to Get You Through might also give you some direction. Just cross out 'Highly Sensitive Child' and insert the word 'TODDLER' and you have yourself some solid advice.

But in the meantime, you're still HERE and I think we both know that I have oodles of sage wisdom up my sleeve, so I guess it's time to let 'er rip. Here are my top three tidbits for you as you navigate the eel-infested waters of toddlerdom.


Coping techniques for Parents dealing with Toddler Tantrums


1. MATCH THE CRAZY WITH CALM.

reaction hannibal calm collected smug
(Via Giphy)

This is a teacher technique. It's way scarier to lower your voice than to raise it. Try it. I dare you.

Shaunacey's basically covered this, but I think it's so important I'm going to say it again (oh the teacher techniques). We've all seen the mother serenely cruising the aisles of the grocery store, pausing to skim the nutritional information on cans of food... while Junior is pitching a fit in the cart. KUDOS, Mama. You've got this.

Do you have to FEEL calm? Heck no. On the inside, you might be crying and stress eating Doritos but look that tiny dictator right in the eye and calmly let them know that "We don't bite/hit/scream/yell/foam at the mouth" because slowly but surely, if they don't get the desired reaction, they'll learn to curb the crazy.

If you have a big feelings little friend (like I do), some other techniques to keep your 'zen' include:
  • singing "One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus" at the top of your lungs with Merle Haggard.
  • inquiring "Has anyone seen this child's parents? No?" as you drag your child through a public venue
  • using the attention garnered to rally a crowd. "She's really upset about Donald Trump's latest outburst. Aren't YOU?"

2. REMOVE.


bye felicia tlc honey boo boo oh well all new episode in 15 minutes
Bye Felicia! (via Giphy)


Whether you walk away or you physically relocate your little dervish darling, putting some space between you and the screaming/spitting/hitting child is essential. You need those eardrums for answering the same question over and over and over again but ALSO, non-violent crisis intervention courses (shout out to teacher training!) show that when there is no audience, the physical stuff dies down much more quickly. Hence why your brilliant offspring can sense the onlookers in crowded locations like weddings, grocery stores, church and family reunions and gear up to Oscar drama in under 60 seconds.  Putting a child in a quiet room or closing the door can be difficult but might keep you from losing your cool and allow your child to get it all out in a safe and structured environment.


3. IT'S NOT YOU,  IT'S ME.

the hills lauren conrad break up breaking up sucky person
Yes. He is. (Via Giphy)



Nope. It's all them. As our second baby, Gabrielle learned to crawl, she would constantly end up in strange places: under the table, behind the couch, squeezed between chairs and as ridiculous as she looked, every single baby needs to do this exploration to figure out their own spacial awareness. If you've been pregnant, you know exactly what I mean. The first time you turn sideways to squeeze through a small space and find yourself wedged firmly in place, your brain has to reconfigure your proportions and how you view yourself and your world. What is big, what is small, what will bonk you in the head and how to duck and react to your surroundings.

Toddlers are doing the exact same thing with their emotions. They throw it all out there to test out the feelings and gauge the reactions, sights, sounds and space that they can take up emotionally.

So are we there to squash them into a little box of no-feelings? No. But just like you wouldn't let your baby crawl off a roof, you gently redirect and guide your toddler in how to safely express emotions and model appropriate reactions and emotions in front of them.

Most importantly, try not to ever lose sight of the fact that under the actions you despise is a person you love. 




And in the meantime, make sure you do the following:
  • Videotape at least one ridiculous meltdown to show them when they're an emo teenager
  • Phone a friend
  • Take yourselves away from the scene of the crisis and do something else for a while
  • Remind yourself that this too shall pass
  • Eat ice cream in the closet 
  • Vent in the comments below and share this post.
Okay, I find those last two specifically helpful but maybe you have other tips for dealing with the tantrums. Share the wealth. I'll just be over here with my ice cream, rocking gently back and forth... back and forth... back and forth.



Rush on over to see what Shaunacey Says about Toddler Tantrums AND don't forget to come back next week to see how we respond to your rhetorical requests... You mean you just wanted us to listen, not solve your problems? Husbands, we're talking to you...
Click HERE to ask... you know you want to.


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