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Experienced mums and childminders-what do you do when your toddler screams blue murder about something apparently trivial to you?

(18 Posts)
puffling Sat 30-Aug-08 22:16:41

DD who's 2 and a half certainly knows her own mind. She didn't want to come off her 'Dora' computer for her bath. I let her know she was going first, so she'd get used to the idea then I just got on with it, hauled her off to the bath while she screamed her face off. The neighbours would have called the NSPCC if they'd heard her. I think I handled her fine and eventually calmed her once she was in the bath. Any tips for reducing the earsplitting screaming in the first place?

SammyK Sat 30-Aug-08 22:20:47

I know she is only little but if you do this a few times they start to realise - do a countdown. In ten minutes we are getting a bath, in five minutes, in two, one more minute. When you have had this episode a few times they (hopefully) understand!

I think you did fine BTW, they are wilful at this age, I had a battle for title of boss with ds at this age, and IMO the only way I won was y never giving in or changing my mind. They soon learn. wink

fishie Sat 30-Aug-08 22:23:51

don't allow anything which will be a wrench to leave near bedtime.

jvs Sat 30-Aug-08 22:25:39

Erm.... ds used to do that, after the first few times when i spent ages trying to calm him down i am afraid i decided it was not acceptable behaviour would remove him from the toy/place whatever and leave him to the screaming.... he could scream for well over an hour to start but now whilst he is still very challenging about thing he might kick off for 30 seconds but by the time i have had the time to walk out of the room he has forgotten/realised he is not going to win and is usually on my heels agreeing to brush his teeth/eat his tea/get in the bath.
Not sure if this is the 'right' way to do it but toodlers are so unreasonable when in full tantrum (at least ds was) that any form of trying to calm down was academic and got me nowhere.
Good luck.

lilolilmanchester Sat 30-Aug-08 22:35:52

I think you handled it well. Agree with Sammyk's point re countdowns. Then do what you did and put up with the screaming. As JVS says, it might take a while, but you'll get there in the end. Fishie has a good point, but really it could be anything they are doing before bedtime which creates a scene so quite hard to avoid everything which might set her off. You're doing the right thing. Stay strong!

jojo76 Sat 30-Aug-08 22:39:30

totally agree, minimum attention, stick to what you wanted them to do. I would have done the same as you, puffling. Now ds is older (hes going to be 4 in march), if he really kicks off and ignoring isn't helping, I take him to his room and he sits on his bed to calm down, he's allowed to come down himself when he thinks he can be there without screaming and shouting. That works really well, and he calms down very quickly when hes in his room. At your dd's age, I would bluster on and distract!

mawbroon Sat 30-Aug-08 22:41:31

Cuddle and breastfeed (not an option to everyone, I know) and then once child is calm, talk about the incident and the feelings involved.

Something along the lines of:

My goodness, that was a big fuss. I am sorry that you felt so bad before, and I am pleased that you feel ok now.

Next time something like this might be about to happen, have a talk before asking them to end the activity. Eg remember last time, you made a fuss and it made you feel bad? This time, are you going to make a fuss, or be happy?

This is what I do with my ds. Probably not everyone's cup of tea admittedly, but it works for us. Tantums are scary for the child and I think that they need reassurance.

puffling Sat 30-Aug-08 23:08:21

Thanks everyone. She totally gets over it once she's out of the scenario but during, she's distraught, as if you're killing her. I don't mind it at all really but dp only sees her in the evening and gets distressed by it himself, therefore angry with her, perhaps a bit excessively. So then I'm dealing with the 2 of them!

HonoriaGlossop Sat 30-Aug-08 23:23:00

I'd combine a countdown as suggested, with a bit of distraction and game playing as well - tempting her into the bath in whatever way you think may work - with ds it was me saying I might have it instead...or getting in. He loved baths together at this age.

jvs Sun 31-Aug-08 09:09:36

yep count down does work for us as well most of the time..... ie i am going to count to five and if you have not done x y or z by number 5 then i will turn the tv of and you will not watch it again today..... took about a month for him to get the hang of it but yes it does seem to get the best results now...... it is so important to follow the 'threat' through though.

snowgirl Sun 31-Aug-08 10:27:15

Hi
Read this with interest as dd going through same thing. Difference is though that she is 3 and 9 months. No tantrums when two but have started now (maybe something to do with ds arriving 4 months ago!). Do same tactics work with an older child or do experienced mums do something else?

VictorianSqualor Sun 31-Aug-08 10:50:41

I'd agree with the countdown I'm always saying 'right, 5 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute' etc.

Also, acknowledge her feelings, say 'I know you probably don't want to have a bath right now, I'd be fed up if someone wanted me to stop doing something I was enjoying and I'd love to let you stay on here all night but I can't because it's time for your bath'.

Snowgirl, If you acknowledge a feeling (I can see you're sad/angry/fed up/annoyed) and make yourself 'on their side' (make it sound like you wish they didn't have to have a bath/go to bed/brush their teeth/eat their greens/tidy away their toys) then they find it a lot easier to accept that it must be done and don't start thinking "Mum's a horrible person making me do X" but "Mum's right, I am annoyed, I do wish I could do Y instead but she can't let me".

Also, start all conversations on a positive note. If they say "Can't I stay on Dora?" instead of saying "No, It's bath time" say "Ok, you can stay on here whilst I run the bath and then you'll have to get in the bath" If you say a version of 'Yes' so will they, same goes for 'No'.

twentypence Sun 31-Aug-08 10:59:10

I think I would lose the Dora game. More trouble than it's worth.

onwardandupward Sun 31-Aug-08 14:06:06

I try to think hard about whether my agenda is the particular instance is actually as important as I thought it was at first glance. as in, what would actually happen if I didn't bathe my child tonight? Can I be sure that would happen? How does believing it will happen make me feel? How would it be if I my fears weren't true? (I just wrote the first two questions and then realised it was just too good an opportunity to miss so I did the whole Byron Katie The Work treatment on it wink )

I'll often capitulate on a given occasion, and then put my creative energy into finding a way that we'll both be happy about making particular kinds of transitions in the future

snowgirl Sun 31-Aug-08 21:45:31

Thanks Victorian Squalor. Just started reading 'how to talk so kids will listen' which recommends similar things. Wasn't sure though if she was still too young.

Ripeberry Sun 31-Aug-08 21:51:11

Whilst they are quite young its quite easy to distract them, but they do get stroppier the older they get...sorry!
I've always done ignoring with my DDs and just make sure they are somewhere safe where they can't hurt themselves and others and then i just wait it out, until they start to calm down, then i'll give them attention.
If they start up again i just calmly and without a work withdraw my attention again and then keep repeating as often as needed.
When you're outside it's much harder, but it's very important to ignore the bad behaviour.

Ripeberry Sun 31-Aug-08 21:52:47

Duh! meant "without a word". Also best to keep exiting games for earlier in the day.

VictorianSqualor Sun 31-Aug-08 23:26:31

snowgirl, most definitely not. A great book, now you'll see where my advice comes from wink

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