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Dealing with toddler tantrums

(19 Posts)
soloula Tue 28-Jul-15 19:16:13

My 21 month old has just started throwing terrible tantrums and I was wondering what methods people have found successful for dealing with them. Today I had her proper screaming for a whole hour because I'd gone into the fridge for some milk and not gave her any cheese! I try distracting her with books, toys etc. I try cuddling her. I've tried giving her a mini time out sitting on the sofa - just to soothe her and see if she'll calm down rather than punish her - and this often works but sometimes she gets herself so het up I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall. Of course when DH comes home she's all smiles and he thinks I'm making it all up and there's no way she could have been such a wee horror! hmm

Frecklefire Wed 29-Jul-15 14:45:41 advice, infact i think you're more ahead of the game than me solo**! My ds turned 2 17 days ago. It was marked by his throwing the monitor from his room down the stairs!!! My 'slice of heaven' 'ray of sunshine' has well and trully whipped his babyface mask off. Suddenly there are all these new parts to his personality that are new, like screaming for 45 mins because i don't let him go on a noddy car, or crying and turning to jelly because i give him the wrong colour ice lolly from the freezer! I feel under siege!!! I know this is normal, i have to stay calm, and nit shout (very hard) i have introduced the naughty step and 'time out' but where has my darling boy gone??? Wahhhhhhhh!!!!!

Kittymum03 Wed 29-Jul-15 14:55:35

Sorry OP I don't really have any advice either,I have my own thread going at the moment asking for help.
Have you tried leaving the room,going upstairs? Doesn't work for me,he just carries on,but I hear it said a lot that it's 'All for show and if you leave the room they will stop'

DeladionInch Wed 29-Jul-15 15:11:04

Trial and error of all the different strategies, as far as I can see (2y8m here) unfortunately that applies every single time they go off on one!

Time In, or the offer of it, is most useful here. That and acknowledging the emotions "I know you're feeling cross, when you're ready mummy will give you a cuddle and help you calm down" then periodically open arms - ds can't take much in when he's really upset - and wait... And wait... Sometimes it takes ages for him to be ready, sometimes he snaps straight out of it. Sometimes I have to grab him for the cuddle (especially out eg supermarket when I don't want home running off!) But mostly it's just a combination of time and not to much sensory input till he's calm. I try and talk through why he was crossafterwards especially if it was in response to something I did, like he can't buy his Thomas magazine because he doesn't have all the stars on his chart yet, or we had to leave because he wasn't sharing nicely with his friends. But again, as few words as possible.

Not the definitive strategy by a long shot but it feels kind and loving and like I'm helping him learn decent ways to cope with emotions at least!

StormyBrid Wed 29-Jul-15 15:17:56

I like the previous poster's methods. There are times though, when you just have to leave them screaming on the floor with minimal input and go and chill out for a bit. Getting bogged down in explanations at the time tends to just prolong the agony.

DeladionInch Wed 29-Jul-15 16:09:28

Yeah, retiring to the sofa hiding in the kitchen with the biscuits or sitting on the floor with a hand on his back are sometimes my only options!

DeladionInch Wed 29-Jul-15 16:10:38

And sometimes you either walk away or join in which, while tempting, is neither dignified nor productive blush

GothicRainbow Wed 29-Jul-15 16:38:11

I tend to sit close by to my DS and let him run out of steam until he's ready for a cuddle. If I try to talk or touch him it only fuels the tantrum.

Although we have now moved into the delightful phase of bashing his head as hard as he can against the floor! I have started a separate thread about that looking for advice.

StormyBrid Wed 29-Jul-15 16:48:34

On occasion, while having a strop, DD will take herself over from the carpeted living room side of downstairs to the hard floored kitchen side, just to get a more effective head-bang-on-floor vibe going on. She doesn't do it much now though - I unaccountably failed to be horrified at her banged head and so cover her in kisses and chocolate and whatever the hell she's kicking off about. I may not have done a terribly good job of not laughing. She rapidly realised the only result would be a headache.

DeladionInch Wed 29-Jul-15 16:50:22

Ds has an amusing ability to pause the tantrum, wee on the potty, then carry on the tantrum...

Newtobecomingamum Thu 30-Jul-15 09:02:35

I've just seen your post after posting on another post:

Hi, sorry I don't have much advice but something that works wonders (the only thing!!) with my 2.4year old is doing this really odd technique... I suddenly in a high pitched voice say "what's that, quick quick can you see/hear it, quick quick come and help me find it" I get really overly excited and pretend I can see or hear something and need to find it. I then say "is it under the sofa noooo, is it in the sky etc nooo where could it be, is it under your jumper etc and then give him a tickle and by this point it's all calmed down. Depending on how severe the tantrum is in can take me a good few minutes to capture his attention but then curiosity gets the better if him and he gets all excited and wants to play along! You really have to exaggerate with your sounds and excitement and it works wonders when we are out and about also (although I look a bit crazy lol!) but I had two ladies approach me Waitrose the other day after witnessing an episode and came over and said how brilliant I was and said I was an expert (I'm not lol) but felt pretty good as it worked!! Worth a try X

folieadeux Thu 30-Jul-15 11:57:11

Omg I'm going to try that!!! Actually looking forward to my 2.6 YO having his next tantrum to give it a go! What do you do when they can't find the funny sound though? Or have they just moved on by then?

TropicalHorse Thu 30-Jul-15 12:25:44

Today I sausaged my 2yo in a towel and held her til she calmed down. I also broke the usually iron-clad rule, Dummies Are Only For Bedtime. When she calmed down we "had a talk" which is a cute thing she's started initiating where she comes up with a topic and we chat about it, this time I named her behaviour, i.e., you just had a tantrum, then said how it was scary and upsetting for us both and next time could she ask for a cuddle instead of screaming. Probly won't work but she made a good show of listening and nodding and agreeing! grin

LetThereBeCupcakes Thu 30-Jul-15 12:34:34

I love Deladion's technique.

For me, it depends on why DS is having a tantrum. If it's because he can't have his own way - ignore, ignore, ignore.

If it's because he's genuninely upset by something, like me getting him out of his booster seat incorrectly, I go down the distraction route "Oh, DS, not to worry, I'll get you out of your seat properly next time. Shall we do a puzzle?"

I can report that laughing does NOT, EVER help the situation.

Newtobecomingamum Thu 30-Jul-15 12:49:41

Hi Folie, I don't leave him diassapointed.. I always find something eg teddy or in the case in the supermarket it was the coco pop monkey on a cereal packet who was whispering to me haha actually had the box to my ear and he went front crying to laughing at his silly mummy! I always find something where it's coming from a toy, a pretend spider that has run off and we have to find him or a teddy etc. The sillier the better as it's so much better for both of us going from crying to laughing! I really have to raise my voice and exaggerate excitement like acting though to capture his attention but I find it really works for me as he just gets so curious as to what it is his thoughts become diverted from the tantrum. x

Newtobecomingamum Thu 30-Jul-15 12:51:44

Obviously this is only when he is having a tantrum for no reason or is just grumpy. If he was upset as something had happened tantrum I will deal with it sensitively and differently.

soloula Fri 31-Jul-15 16:12:15

So glad to hear I'm not the only one! I'm definitely going to try Dedalion's technique. I do try and distract but maybe a more exaggerated over the top reaction might work better.

I agree with you Cupcakes that it depends what the tantrum is about. The worst ones do seem to be the ones when she's not getting her own way - no cheese when she wants, no cartoons etc. I can usually calm her down if she gets frustrated at not understanding something or me not understanding her. It's the other ones that are harder to handle and usually an epic tantrum.

I saw that Three Day Nanny last night and there was a wee 18 month old throwing a wobbler and the nanny sat her on the naughty step for a time out but not as a punishment more as somewhere that it's ok for her to shout and express her frustrations until she calms down so I'm going to give that a wee go next time.

Racheyg Fri 31-Jul-15 20:02:13

Hi op, I have had to deal with ds1 temper tantrums for about 4 months now and he turned 2, 2 weeks ago. I felt like you where has my little baby boy gone.

I now have a ds2 who is 9 weeks and they are worse than ever. I use a lot of bribery, to get him to calm down ect. He loves you tube on my iPhone so it's a great distraction.

I try to ignore him if he is doing it for effect and attention

NessaWH123 Fri 31-Jul-15 22:06:20

My 2 year old if he doesn't get his own way has started now screaming at me at the tip of his lungs and pointing his finger at me in an aggressive manner and shouts no before finding something to throw or hit !! Ahhh came back from the shop before where I simply popped for milk and had t carry him out as he started grabbing and mouthing everything he could in his reach and when I said to put it back ( as he thinks he can have everything for free in there!!;) he threw all the tubes of smarties on the floor and screamed before trying t run away!! Does it improve???! How do u deal with that on a daily basis???sad

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