Managing a child can be a herculean task, especially during the formative years that involve your kids going berserk. Temper tantrum can be really scary and quite equivalent to a storm, that can give you a meltdown too.
Don’t be frustrated, in fact, you should know that such outbursts are exceedingly common in kids who are in their initial phase of learning the social and emotional skills and evolving self-regulations. So, next time your kid gives you a hard time and the supersonic screams and constant whining seem never-ending, take a deep breath and turn into a mom-ninja!
Let’s Identify Them First
Your toddler’s temper tantrum can be of varied forms - whining, screaming, kicking, hitting or even worse throwing away things, vomiting and breath holding. The age between 1-4 is the time they are a total stranger to the everyday events around them and are hence adapting to the ways of the world, learning to communicate effectively. It’s a minefield for them, trust me but it’s just a phase - ‘and this, too, shall pass.’
Understand that their coping techniques and language skills are at a nascent stage and any vulnerable situation can just set them off. A simple ‘no’ to their wants, for instance, or an unknown place like a mall or movie theatre can induce them to throw a tantrum.
However, for kids of age group, 3-5 outbursts are more of seeking independence and control, an endeavour to attain complete dominance of their surroundings. Their cognitive capabilities are developing fast and hence the urge to function individually and perform tasks unaided. They wish to assert their wants and refusal to them can make them go bananas.
So, learning to deal with these variant tantrum phases and forms is a skill and a part of education that will turn you into a Powerpuff mom.
There are some tips and tricks that moms over the years have been following that can fix your problems and prevent a frustrating public experience and soothe your child.
Learn from experience
Understand their psychology, their mindset and their temperament. Avoid situations that are overwhelming for your child and circumstances that they cannot cope with like strangers suddenly approaching them, going out during their sleep time, visiting a noisy place, any sudden unexpected change etc. Give them the time and space to adjust; a heads-up or an alert message may help. Their food time, sleep time, diaper changing and comfort should always be a top priority---no messing with that or they will shoot up.
Your child has very limited communication skills which makes it impossible to communicate their struggles that trigger tantrums. For a better outcome, you can develop sign language for several situations like eating, dressing, feeling sleepy or tired, wanting a toy, or any object that scares them. This definitely helps a lot to comprehend their needs and desires. Moreover, prior notification about an upcoming event or any change of plans, explaining them the situation or explaining the important rules to follow sets the desired expectations for behaviour. This, especially, helps if guests are visiting or you are going to a party, parlour, for shopping or you have a doctor’s appointment which can take hours.
Get them involved
Help your child every time to learn new skill sets to control their emotions and frustrations. let them soothe themselves—it’s just a practice that can begin at home. The best way to avoid a storm is to get them involved in the activity that raises their curiosity levels and in turn, doesn’t keep them secluded. So, next time if you are throwing a birthday party they can help you in minor activities like fetching the ribbons, organizing the toys, picking up items etc. These new activities are quite interesting to them that keeps them engaged.
‘Charity begins at home.’ To discipline your child, first, the family members must follow some codes of behaviour and rules to set examples. Have serious parent-child talk with them and treat them as growing individuals who have the ability to comprehend instructions. Their rapid development of sensory processing exposes them to various sensory inputs, therefore self-regulation, behavioural regulations and positive parenting are the building blocks for their emotional and cognitive responses that aid their social development skills.
Keep your cool but be firm, don’t always cave into your toddler’s temper tantrums and doggedness. Children need to understand the word ‘no’ and what is forbidden behaviour. But an apt explanation is also necessary for the same to keep them cautioned for the next time. Occasional rebuking is also necessary but a positive behaviour must be rewarded too (not always with gifts, appreciations are also welcome). By disciplining their sensations you can modify their responses to help them better connect to the world.
The instructions and tips are unending but a few key takeaways for mothers may also help:
Responsive parenting is a synthesis of science and emotion comprehension where your nurturing is directly proportional to their evolving social-emotional skills that facilitate a strong foundation during the budding years. Innovative coping mechanisms, engaging in rich verbal inputs and positive parenting practices is sure to calm their temper tantrums resulting in a happy baby and happy parent experience.
Until then, Happy Parenting!