Sunday, August 26, 2012

20 Toddler Tips in 20 days Today: Tantrums

Toddler Survival Tip #2

2. Tantrums when leaving

Rushing toddlers is one of the common triggers of avoidable tantrums. 

Like me, most parents have jobs, other children, social lives, errands to run, families to please, households to clean and much more. As adults, we have learned to multi-task, plan ahead, pack quickly, run to the store, rush home, without a second thought we begin to 'drag our babies' with us. 

I remember as a child and fortunately for me, I had an amazing mother, but as a child, she was there for me, teaching me how to grow. She didn't rush us much, because she was a stay at home mom without work. We were fortunate enough to have a more mellow schedule in our lives. At the grocery store she would take her time and allow us to look at toys, help fill her cart with food and talk to her in the store. 

She made everything fun, light and relaxed. I don't remember feeling a lot of stress from my mother as a small child. Yes, I was fortunate and yes, I realize this is not possible for all parents. But it really is something to consider the next time you see yourself dragging your screaming toddler by their arm through the checkout line, wondering where it all went wrong.

We bribe, yell, beg, throw out ultimatums or worse spank to try to 'get through to our babies.' This will only teach them that if your big you can hit, yell, bribe, beg, whine and worse. They learn by what they see more than what they hear.

The alternative tip:
(using example of grocery store shopping)

Give you and your toddler more time than you need to leave the house, shop and return. Allowing a bit more time will decrease both your stress and the babies.

Use age-appropriate discipline: toddlers need distraction, reasonable limits, redirection, understanding and patience!

Distract by keeping bubbles in your bag or the car at all times, when the tears brim, blow away.

Redirect by having them be part of the process. Ask them how they can help, what they can bring with them, what they need on their feet before you go, have a picture list with simple food they can grab for you.

Give reasonable limits ...Talk about what will happen when you go, when your there and come back home. Toddler and smarter and more capable than we give credit to them. Tell them what is ok to do and what is not.

Prevent by bringing snacks or small toys they haven't seen before to bring in in emergencies.

Consider the state of your child before going. Are they tired? hungry? bored? Do they go to this store often? Is it familiar, new? Are they an anxious child? Scared of strange people or situations? A hyper child? Ask yourself what you can do to help your child's unique temperament.

What is the best time of day to go. If you can have a weekly schedule so they know the day you usually go and go at the same time to the same place to help practicability. We all feel more comfortable in familiar situations, why would be any less for our babies? Routines will save you.

If your child has a particular hard time with outings limit your errands. You may have done 7 stops before you had babies in one outing, but try limiting this now to 2 or 3 max. 

Go for shorter periods of time until they get more comfortable. 

Only you can prevent tantrums!

Good Luck!

Tune in tomorrow for our next toddle tip!

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