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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Toddler Tantrums - When to Say "NO"

Last night, when I got home from work, I was too exhausted so the last thing that I wanted was for the kids to start having arguments. At first, they were doing ok - Yana showing me her "Star" stamped on her hands because she did well in school while Gaby was showing the Ice Tea moves, imitating the dance in the new commercial of Ice Tea. Of course, I was happy seeing them that way. But then after a while, guess what happened.

Perhaps, you already know. The usual sibling rivalry started, and it's because of Gab's tantrums. That's right! Often times, when the two fight, it's because Gab has her toddler tantrums again. She wants everything by herself, toys, books, cellphone, PSP, mommy's wallet, ballpen, even the attention of her Daddy when Yana tries to move the laptop towards her. And when she doesn't get them, she'll start crying, and worse, screaming.

Being a full-time working mom at that, sometimes Gab's tantrums really get into my nerves. And so the least that I do is to tell her Ate Yana to just give in to what Baby Gaby wanted. I know, it's wrong, and Yana will eventually realize that what I do is also wrong, because when she has tantrums herself, I never give in to her and I say no.

Oh, I just don't know what to do with Gaby. I want to say "NO" to her when she wants everything for herself beyond reason, but I just can't with all the stress that I already take from work at the office and outside. If only it's so easy to follow what this article says:

When to say “No”

Although tantrums are a normal fact of toddler life, they can be minimised by setting sensible limits – for yourself as well as your child.
Say “No” to frustration beyond your toddler’s tolerance limits

Challenges are necessary for children to develop, but try to step in before a challenge becomes a frustration by offering help. Guide gently, but don’t take over. For instance, gently turn the puzzle piece so he can put it in by himself. When you sense your tot is reaching the brink, create a diversion towards a calming, soothing activity – a different place, a toy, a hug, a story, a song or perhaps a snack.

Say “No” to overwhelming situations

Look for common tantrum triggers. Do they seem to happen mostly when your tot is tired? hungry? rushed? Are there situations he finds difficult to handle such as playgroup or shopping? Keeping a tantrum diary might help you understand triggers.

Try to think ahead and limit overwhelming situations. For instance, plan short shopping trips when he isn’t tired, take nutritious snacks whenever you go out and don’t wait for difficult behaviour before you offer food.

Say “No” to junk food

Some foods can adversely affect children’s behaviour. Sweets can trigger blood sugar variations, caffeine in ‘coke’ drinks can hype kids up for hours – so they are literally unable to sit still, let alone fall asleep, and additive or chemicals – even in foods that are normally considered healthy can affect some sensitive tots. Again a tantrum diary might shed light on tantrum triggers.
Say “No” to misunderstandings

Try to tune in and listen carefully to what your little one is trying to tell you. Encourage toddlers to express frustration or anger verbally. If their language skills are limited, help out. Say “you look angry that your block tower crashed.” Or, “I get angry too, when I can’t have what I want.”

Say “No” to too many rules

Don’t sweat the small things. Rules like seatbelts and holding hands near roads are not negotiable, but a balance between health and safety and a happy day can benefit family relationships (and sanity), so childproof your home and keep rules for really important things.

Say “No” to too many choices

Opportunities to make decisions help a toddler feel in control but too many choices can confuse and overwhelm him. Instead of open-ended choices – “what do you want to wear?” ask “would you like to wear your blue shirt or the red one?”

Say “No” and mean it

It’s far better to say “yes” initially than to change your mind after your child has exploded. (Remember “maybe” means yes to a child). Rewarding genuinely uncontrollable tantrums can encourage tots to use (semi)deliberate tantrums to get what they want.

Say “No” to embarrassment

It can be difficult to consider your child’s feelings when he performs a tantrum in public but whatever you do, don’t yell back, don’t smack and don’t resort to giving in because you feel embarrassed. And please, don’t walk away from an out of control tot in places like shopping centres. It is scary enough to be out of control without also feeling abandoned. The best thing you can do here is scoop up your child and leave.

Say “Yes” to comfort

Because you know your child best, you’ll know whether he’s better letting off steam by himself (with you nearby) or whether he needs to be held quietly. If you find walking away works for your child, return when he settles, hug him and say “I’m still here and I love you.” Giving reassurance is not giving in. Just as adults need comfort when they feel upset or overwhelmed, toddlers need to know they are loved, even when their behaviour isn’t lovable.



ryliej said...

hi sis, salamat sa pagcomfort.. huna ko saro pa lang aki mo hehehe... saen baya si hubby mo here sa korea? nasa chinhae kami..

Joops said...

its always a scene to our home hehehe..

Maricel said...

Hiya! I was here! :) blog roll visit time! ^_^

Thanks for the tips! My 2 year old is starting to have tantrums... Rawr!

Maricel --- Momhood Moments

Vanniedosa said...

naku sometimes when i reach my limit i just give a look tapos deadma na sa crying, it works infairness pag dinideadma sila. hehehe

hang in there phoebs i remember growing up with a sister so close to my age we would fight everyday :)

darly said...

naku, ako din m starting to get worried na.. my baby although she is a happy tot- meron na ring times na tantrum, with matching lupasay pa sa sahig if she doesn;t get what she wants.

Great tippers to kapatid.

anne said...

hehehe good thing I don't experienced that much at home, as Ate Mj really know how to comfort Faith, and when Faith would grab things from Ate Mj like her notebooks and things from school, I firmly say no, she would cry at first but eventually I guess she understands and smile us again. Usually Ate Mj would approach her when she have this kind of moods, and would play together,Si ate Mj din when she was yet a toddler, if we go to malls and she want something a toy perhaps if I say no, not today and explained her after why we cant buy those things she would understand and will say Ma sunod na lang pag naa kay kwarta ha? They are both sweet pero mas sipat ning akong gamay may pagkamaldita pero ma handle pa man especially when Ate Mj is around. Mas moduol pa siya kay Ate Mj keysa kay Ate Mariel na highschool na hehehe. Pero basin sad girl murag duol duol ra sila ug age, sometimes naay possibility nga naay rivalry pag ing ana ang age, sige lang someday mawala na na sa ilaha. just try to explain them when you say no

freakymom said...

kacute hehehe! pro kung sako gaud malalanog q an hahaha! leave it all to the yaya na lng pra d maxado mastress. take care of your little angel.

kiss to your bebes...God bless!

Tantrum Toddlers Researcher said...

Say no if he's asking for too much. I just want to share one of the things I've learned from Tantrum Toddlers Researcher.