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I've really messed up this time . . . 22 month old tantrums(27 Posts)
Hi everyone, just wondering if anyone has any advice. It would be very gratefully received!
I have an issue with 22 month old DS at the moment in that whenever we sit down to a meal he gets really irate when he's finished and I make him sit for a couple of minutes whilst I clean up. It's only ever 4-5 minutes, I try and talk to him the whole time and have even tried giving him a cloth to wipe the table so he can join in. Nothing works.
Today he started high pitched screaming when I was tidying his plate etc away so I calmly said that I wanted him to stop shouting and carried on clearing the table.
The screaming continued and he became really angry so I walked out of the kitchen and left him to calm down. I actually said, "I'm going until you calm down".
Because I didn't want to return whilst he was still screaming I ended up waiting 15 minutes until he was calm. The whole time he was really angrily screaming. I think I've messed up and feel really shitty for leaving him as long but I felt like I couldn't return to him as that would reinforce that screaming gets him what he wants.
It's an issue at nursery apparently as well. Does anyone have any tips? Should I just continue to leave him to it until he learns that his screaming has no impact?
Thanks guys. x
Why does he have to wait - can he not potter about on the floor while you clean up? I have a toddler a few months older than yours and say pick your battles 🤷 patience and manners will come with age.
Yes. Quite simply. As long as he’s safe.
However, maybe clear up as you go along? Also ask nursery for advice. What do they do when he screams? Screaming is usually in place of words because he cannot express himself but I would work with the nursery staff on strategies . No great words of wisdom otherwise.
What do you going he trying to communicate?
Why does he have to sit there while you clear?
Do you give him book to look at? Or colouring or something?
High chair is safe while you there but an angry strong toddler over 15 minutes could wriggke out or topple it so take him out and plonk in a playpen while you clear
And give him other ways to communicate.
If he only has screaming to say what he feels then he will scream. Does he have any words like down or no ?
I don't think you messed up, and there's no reason to feel shitty. However my toddler is 20 months and I take him out of his high chair while I clean up, there's no way he'd just sit still and watch me.. Is there a reason he can't get out and wander around the kitchen while you clean?
Mine has an obsession with the sweeping brush so we bought him his own and he goes around trying to sweep the floor, if not he'll play with some toys, or if DH is here he'll entertain him. I can't imagine many toddlers being happy to sit trapped in the high chair and watch. I do think when they scream like that it's just frustration from not being able to communicate their needs, and not necessarily bad behaviour. I'm not an expert though, far from it.
I sort of get it, I’m trying to get mine to sit and wait for the rest of us to finish eating before they get down, table manners and all that. But 15 mins is way too long at that age, he’ll have forgotten why you’ve left him.
I think he’s too young to understand what you want, he’s got no concept of five minutes. Pick your battles or you’ll end up with all kinds of problems.
He's too little to learn the lesson you want him to learn really. However, if it's practical for him to stay in the high chair for 5 minutes then he'll survive the trauma. Maybe you could put a clean up song on so he learns the routine of what you're doing?
DD draws if she’s having to wait at the table for any reason, or occasionally I’ll ask her to see if she can look out of the window and spot a squirrel/pigeon/bee.
I agree with you OP that it’s not a bad thing if they can learn that sometimes they have to wait but, to make your life easier, I’d stop battling this and give your DS something to occupy him while he waits or, alternatively, wipe hands and face so that he can get down and play.
I’ve certainly left DD for quite a few minutes when she’s being throwing a strop about something insignificant. She’s a bit older (just turned three) but now if she’s tantrumming I’ll ask her to go to her room if she wants to continue shouting or she can stay with me if she’ll stop.
Thanks so much for the replies.
I guess I'm expecting too much! In my mind, I thought that by making him wait a little while I'm setting the foundations for the idea that when he's older I'll expect him to wait until everyone is finished. Also, the moment I get him out of his highchair he will start harassing me to play and I really need to have a clean kitchen because my anxiety goes through the roof if everything isn't spotless. I realise that's my problem and not his, though. . .
Still, really good to know that other kids of a similar age couldn't manage it.
I like the idea of giving him a brush to run around with. He would probably enjoy that! I'll also ask the nursery how they deal with it - that's a great idea.
His vocabulary is (I think!) pretty good for his age and he can say "down", "finished", "more" etc but these are words he's only just recently acquired so maybe it'll take a little longer for him to use them instead of shouting.
Oh and I read quite a number of the replies thinking, 'why the hell did I not give him a bloody book?!' 😂
Thanks for helping me to see what was right in front of my nose!
I'm so blinkered at the moment with having him at home most of the time (other than the 3 glorious nursery half days!) that I'm sometimes not able to think straight about how to make things better.
It's really normal for them to get frustrated like that too - when I was childminding I'd always keep them strapped in while I quickly cleared away otherwise the kitchen would have descended into chaos.
Letting him sit in the high chair crying for five minutes while you tidy up isn't going to kill him. I don't see anything wrong with just letting him sit there.
I have two kids and one thing I found when they were little is they have to learn to wait because you cannot physically be in two places at once. If they are tied down and safe, let them complain to their hearts content while you carry on regardless.
Sorry for the multiple posts, just reading the last couple of replies.
Yeah, I need to get better at picking my battles. Everything with him seems like a challenge at the moment and in my mind making him sit for an extra few minutes at the table was an attempt by me to try and reinforce expectations of behaviour. I can see now though that I need to focus on the important stuff.
I never thought about him forgetting about what he'd done wrong either. When I went in the kitchen to get him and put him down he ran over and started waving his toy tractor at me, so I think he probably did forget and was probably really confused.
Thanks again - I really appreciate the help. x
OP Bare in mind so many posters on mumsnet think they're the most perfect parents and can do no wrong, so be aware of criticism.
I think you did the right thing, you're human and you can't be screamed at angrily continuously and you need a couple of minutes to clean up.
As long as DS as safe, it'll be fine.
You're doing good, don't forget that
Well he probably see it as everyone else is finished and leaving the table, but I've got to sit here and wait longer. I would get annoyed at that to if I was him. Let him down to play while you clear up. You don't have to entertain and play with kids every minute of the day. Now is the time to let him learn how to entertain himself for a while.
I do this when I'm cooking op, it's dangerous for DS to be in the kitchen when I'm cooking so I put him in his high chair with play doh and when he gets bored of that I swap it for drawing. I tend to get about 20 minutes out of him on a good day by doing this.
I have been known to support DS through a time out moment when things get too much for him. I explain that it's somewhere for him to sit to calm down (rather than a haughty step punishment) and it does work. Now when he wants 5 minutes alone he goes and sits in the time out area so it can work. But I would encourage communication rather than leaving him.
However, you did the right thing to remove yourself from the situation in this instance.
He's nearly 2 not 22. 'Teaching' occurs when a child is old enough to fully understand what you are teaching.
You're being pretty ridiculous making a battle out of nothing.
Would now, next and then instructions help him to know what you expect him to do at the relevant stage that things are happening.
Whilst eating - Now, we're eating our lovely lunch, next we'll clean-up, then we'll play.
Let him have a book or something you can't expect him to sit with nothing.. .. by training him to sit with something like book it will help when you go out to cafe too.
Start with short times and build up . You read while I clean then get down and play car
Him waving car =play with me.
Pick your battles. Wipe him up and let him go. Five minutes is a long time for an almost 2 year old to sit there with nothing particular to do and without understanding why (honestly, I’m not even sure why?). My almost 3 year old can get down from the table once he’s finished and had his hands wipe, then I clean up after. There will be AO many boundaries you need to put in place at 2 years old, this particular battle doesn’t seem worth fighting.
He's very young to be learning table manners.
Why does he have to sit still and watch you tidy up?
I see so many parents wishing the childhood away.
My son is 22 months too, he has his own little table and chair, he gets up when he's finished, picks up the bits he's dropped, and goes off to play.
Plenty of time for sitting at tables nicely.
@octobersky19 thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it. i think being at home for so long is getting to me and I'm maybe not making decisions as rationally as I usually would.
I'll give him something to do tomorrow and see how that goes. He likes his Play Doh so that might be a good option.
I'm not being ridiculous either. I'm trying to keep my home functioning with a level of order and trying to find a way to minimise the chaos. Having a level of order is helping me to cope at the moment.
Honestly, 22 months is so young. You've got plenty of time to teach him patience and table manners when he's old enough to understand. Try a toy or something at the table to distract him, but if that doesn't work and you've got another safe place where he'll be happier I would just let him get down.
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