MELTDOWNS, FRUSTRATION AND TANTRUMS
Tantrums are a process that toddlers use to express their emotions and feelings when they cannot achieve something they deeply desire. Our little ones feel so passionately about everything, and neurologically, they simply just don't have enough frontal cortex capacity at this age to control themselves when they become upset. However, in saying this, there are ways that many tantrums can be avoided. Much of the time a toddler's tantrums are a direct result of feeling powerless. We have seen through experience and research that toddlers who feel they have some 'control' over their lives have had fewer tantrums. Further, we can look into factors contributing to managing the emotion toddlers experience when these tantrums arise: anger and frustration. From our perspective, a child that is tired or hungry will melt down much easier then a child that is not. ✖️Respect for sleep and nutrition will only benefit your child when it comes to expressing themselves, and be able to assist in preventing an outburst emotionally. ✖️Preempt feeding or snacks and naps , consistent bedtimes, enforced quiet time or rests, some cuddles or reading a book together can prevent most tantrums. We are looking to re-ground kids who are getting towards the end of their tether and attention span. ✖️Be sure you connect emotionally and have a period of cuddles, give some good 1:1 attention and fill up your child's emotional tank before you try to hit the shop, or ask them to play independently while you fix dinner. 5 minutes of time together may just save you 30 minutes of crying and tears! ✖️It's amazing how acknowledging your child's emotions can stop a brewing tantrum in its tracks. Before you begin trying to set a limit, let's first acknowledge what your child is feeling and why. Talk about their emotion, why they are feeling that way and then set a limit. ✖️You don't have to prove you're right as the parent, you are there to support the learning your child has to do. No one wins! It is a mutual environment for trust and respect. Your child is trying to assert that they are a real person, with some real power in the world! And you know what - That's totally appropriate! Let them have the opportunity to say 'no' or make a small decision whenever you can do so, without compromise to safety, health, or other peoples' rights. A good example is when they want to make a decision on what to wear. If it’s weather appropriate and safe for them, albeit maybe not coordinated, this decision gives them a sense of importance, satisfaction and independence! ✖️Remember again, emotion! If your child become angry, remember that this can in fact be a defense to something more uncomfortable to them, where they are trying to set a boundary. A boundary for each lesson is different - you’re boundaries are different to your child’s, and probably very different to another adults! ✖️Look at the body language, their speech/tone and words they are using. A boundary is a method of stopping an uncomfortable situation from happening. A defense to insecurity, feeling of vulnerability, fear, hurt or grief. Respect these - If you can get your child to go back to those underlying feelings, then their anger will dissipate and trust will build. If they aren’t comfortable giving a kiss or cuddle to someone they usually would, say a family member, respect this. They are learning that it’s ok to put boundaries in place if they feel uncomfortable and need to know that you respect that too. By doing so, you’ll be able to easier distinguish if they’re feeling off or acting differently when there could actually be an underlying situation with anyone in the future. ✖️ Think about what you feel like when you’re swept with exhaustion, rage and hopelessness. If you do lose it, you want someone else there holding things together, reassuring you and helping you get yourself under control, and sometimes this is after you've had a good cry! As adults we have the ability to cope with situations much easier then a child. Don’t put too greater expectations in someone who hasn’t had life experiences as great as yours!
We want to guide our children towards knowing that things aren't always going to go their way. It's ok to feel upset, disappointment or frustrated - but they also need to learn how to cope and manage these situations, understand limitations and rules - especially when it comes to safety, health and law.
Bedtime battles? Need help with your little ones meltdowns, setting limits or a way to help them go to bed, and stay in bed? Our independent sleep guide 2-4 years has everything you need! Grab yours here. Or contact us to organize a home consult and go through everything together.