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Tantrums, tantrums, tantrums.

(10 Posts)
LingDiLong Tue 13-Aug-13 21:43:42

One of the two year olds I look after has always been a difficult child. He took a long time to settle, then he went through a hitting phase, then a headbutting one. We're now on to the tantruming phase.

He freaks out about Every. Little. Thing. He tantrums when we get out of the car because I don't get him out first/immediately. He tantrums because he doesn't want to hold my hand/use reins. He tantrums because we can't walk as fast as he wants to or he tantrums because we stop to look at/do something. He tantrums if he's on the slide and someone else tries to go up behind him. He tantrums because he has to come off the bottom of the slide and not climb up it. He tantrums if I try to read a story to everyone rather than just to him personally. He tantrums if my DD sings (her voice isn't that bad!).

Now, I know tantruming comes with the territory with 2 year olds. My own DS was no stranger to the tantrums at that age. I also look after another 2 year old who can throw a mean tantrum but this little boy - blimey, it's constant.

I think ultimately, he's a child who would be better suited to one-to-one care and he does get that for 4.5 days a week. Unfortunately for him he's stuck with me for the other 2.5 days.

Has anyone else had a child who's this tantrumy? How did you handle it?! It's difficult talking to his mum about it because he simply doesn't tantrum as much with her - he's happier when he's on his own because things naturally go the way he's comfortable with more often than they do in a group of kids.

MissMuesli Wed 14-Aug-13 01:23:28

I work in a nursery and it is definitely not easy with 2 year olds! I also have a 2 year old myself. Here are a few things I find work:

Choices: 2 year olds love to feel independent, and so it can often help to give them small but manageable choices. Things like "would you like blue socks or red socks?" Etc.

Negatives in to positives: so "Don't climb up the slide" becomes "Climbing is fun, if you want to climb you could have a turn on the balancing beam" etc.

Labelling emotions; I find this works so well with my 2 year old, although it depends on the child's ability. I often say I my 2 year old "You are cross because you didn't want to hold my hand, it is important to hold hands because the cars are dangerous" or "You look tired, lets have a story" etc. I find my daughter will now say things like "I not happy with you" instead of the screaming which helps to talk and negotiate.

Naps/ snacks: alot of children really still need down the or sleeps at this age, my daughter still often sleeps for 2 hours.. Does your mindee need a sleep or even 20 mins story or TV time just to wind down? I also find this age group ale hunger badly and feeling hungry leads to more paddies.

It depends on the child but also when we first started having real massive tantrums I used to conpletely ignore them. Even in public which was soul destroying, I remember casually browsing fake flowers in wilkinsons whilst my 2 year old lay on the floor kicking and screaming. Alot of dirty looks were thrown my way but she soon learnt that it didn't really achieve much, and critically I think she learnt that being in public wasn't a trigger for me to be embarrassed. After these monster paddies I would carry on our day with lots of praise

The last one is praise and stickers: When having a real blip in behaviour I try to ignore the paddies and focus on every thing that is good behaviour. Literally praising "you are playing nicely" "well done for using your fork" "you put your shoes away, good job" blah blah blah, it's very fake and tedious but is great for toddlers self esteem, and realising good behaviours make a happier day.

Also with the story thing, maybe you could encourage him by saying something like "this story is for hating, but it would help of you could turn the page for me" getting him involved but also feeling important?

Sorry I've rambled lol, hopefully something will work, but if not just remember its a phase like every other phase and it will pass :-)

MissMuesli Wed 14-Aug-13 01:25:25

Hating was meant to say sharing

LingDiLong Wed 14-Aug-13 07:16:34

Thanks MissMuesli, that was all really helpful. It kind of highlights the problem with this child actually. All of those suggestions would work brilliantly with the other 2 year old I mind but this particular one is only just turned 2 and his understanding/communication simply wouldn't be up to a lot of that. Which has really made me think. Perhaps a lot of this is frustration - hopefully as his speech improves the tantruming will ease off.

I know what you mean about the ignoring, I try and ignore some of the tantrums too but he's a very small and cute little child and he attracts a lot of fuss and sympathy from other people the minute he starts crying! I'm conscious of the fact that people might judge me as his childminder if I ignore the crying.

Mimishimi Wed 14-Aug-13 13:59:14

Have you noticed any delays with his speech?

LingDiLong Wed 14-Aug-13 21:42:51

No, I wouldn't say he's delayed in his speech. He has a reasonable vocab and puts words together now too. His development is fine but he just really struggles with the world not going exactly his way!

HSMMaCM Wed 14-Aug-13 22:05:23

I appreciate what you mean about tantrums in public. I was in the middle of a park with at least 100 adults and children this week and whilst ignoring a screaming child I was also thinking that people would be taking a note of my details (advertised on our clothes and car) and telling people to avoid me or report me to Ofsted. Did those same people notice her happy and smiling and laughing a while later? Probably not confused. I still go with the ignore/distract approach, but it is harder with younger ones without as much understanding.

RosieGirl Thu 15-Aug-13 08:28:20

I have one of these and I am afraid that the parents have allowed it and it has got worse. They have told me that they are working at not giving in immediately. She has definitely learnt to scream first and foremost and get louder and louder until she is nearly sick. I have also tried giving choice, distraction, praise when she does anything good, but the behaviour is supported at home, but I think the parents think this is "just the way she is". I also have the problem of being given dirty looks by others, I just smile and chat away to the other children, in the hope that she snaps out of it and joins in. The other day, we went to the park and she didn't want to walk, didn't want to go in the buggy, didn't want to play in the park, then DID want to play in the park, all the time wanted to be picked up and held, knowing that I have 3/4 other children with me, double buggy and bags, she chooses the thing she knows I cant do, as well as being 2.8 so isn't the smallest child.

And like you when she is good she is beautiful and really bright, no language delay here.

Good job patience is my 2nd name.

Do you use baby sign language with him? I found that, sometimes, just using basic signs like walk, drink, book etc helped an awful lot at this stage.

It must be so difficult to not be able to explain yourself then dissolve into a fit of rage.

And remember the MN mantra - this will pass.

I have a LO who was the tantrum queen at 18 months to 3, so very wearing! She's rather lovely now, with just the occasional meltdown which we all ignore.

LingDiLong Thu 15-Aug-13 19:55:33

HSMMaCM, yes I do feel so conspicuous when he gets upset in public. I feel like people must think I'm terrible at my job for one of my charges to be so unhappy.

Rosie, my patience is being sorely tried at times!! In fairness to this little chap's parents I don't think they spoil him in the sense of giving in to him. I just think his time at home is naturally quieter and more structured around him because he's an only child. He just can't seem to handle the noise and the sharing and the compromise of being in a large group of kids.

WhereBe, he doesn't really need sign language as he can tell me he wants a drink or food or whatever. He can't express more sophisticated stuff through speech though so I can't really work out what it is that upsets him so much about my daughter's singing for example! The other 2 year old I look after would be able to say that he didn't like the song or that she's too loud. The little tantrumer can only scream his head off! When I try and explain he must hold my hand to keep him safe or not climb up the slide or he'll get hurt, he simply doesn't appear to understand.

I always thought before I started childminding that if I found myself with a difficult child it would be really easy to just give notice. It's so not though! I know just how difficult it would be for his Mum to find someone else and, as much as he is driving me crazy, I can't help but feel attached to this little boy too!

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