Tips to Diffuse a Toddler’s Meltdown
As much as you love your toddler, parenting your young child can sometimes be frazzling and stressful! Factor in that you might be a stay-at-home parent – on call 24 hours a day – and some days might make you feel like a ticking time bomb! But take heart! Relief is only a few steps away.
Try these tips to diffuse your toddler’s tantrums, or at least help you cope more positively:
- This one is so simple! We do it automatically. Yet, in moments of stress, we tense up and almost seem to hold our breath. If you can catch yourself and notice the tension in your body, then you can remember to breathe out.
- Inhale a long, powerful breath of air. Close your eyes and feel the oxygen rushing to every cell of your body, rejuvenating and filling you with positive energy.
- Almost immediately, you’ll notice your muscles relaxing and your face softening. The emotional effects will be palpable, too. You may find that you can look upon the situation not with tired frustration, but with compassion.
- Let them be. If the environment is safe and you’re at home, sometimes it can be therapeutic for your little one if you just let them have their tantrum. Be calm, and let them cry it out. Eventually, they’ll realize that throwing their fit doesn’t have the effect they wanted, and they’ll usually stop relying on this tactic.
- It’s not personal. Remember, your toddler isn’t purposely doing anything to you. You are simply the observer of their actions as they try to figure out how they can get what they want. They are stretching their boundaries and exploring their world.
- If we can remember we are observers and not the intended receivers, we can approach the situation more calmly, thus reducing or eliminating the stress.
- Stay in the moment. So many times, frustration arises because our minds want the moment to go differently. Maybe you desperately need to vacuum the floor or get that last load of laundry done. Instead, go with the flow. Recognize that you can make time for the chores later and know that it is okay.
Know that toddler tantrums are normal and you cannot always avoid them. Toddlers just do not have the language and cognitive skills to know what to do with their big emotions. However, there are some things to consider to possibly lessen the number of meltdowns that come your way. Get curious and ask yourself:
- What is my child trying to communicate beyond being mad about not getting their way – do they need positive attention, more fun, more control or are they hungry or tired?
- What skill do they need help learning? How to ask for help in an acceptable way? How to play with their sibling? How to transition from one activity to another?
- Do they know the expectations and are they reminded before entering a certain situation?
You can help your little one learn the skills they need by being curious, patient and providing the nourishment and sleep they need to function their best.
Nurture Yourself, Too
To best be there for your children, you have to be there for yourself as well. That means nurturing your body, mind, and spirit. When all three of these needs are met, it’s easier to handle stressful situations such as toddler meltdowns.
How can you nurture your own needs?
- Eat a balanced diet of nutrient dense proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
- Make time for yourself. Even during a child’s naptime you can nurture yourself. Avoid doing chores during this time. Instead, do something that rejuvenates you. For example, take a nap, read a book, watch a movie, meditate, or talk with a friend. Doing something that makes you feel like you (and not only a mommy) does wonders for your psyche!
- Feelings of frustration are normal. Talking with a friend can help you sort out what you’re feeling and come up with ideas to see these emotions for what they are.
These are just a few ideas. Feel free to use them as a springboard to your own unique solutions. It never hurts to keep looking for ways we can be better parents to our next generation.
If you can incorporate some of these tips into your daily parenting life, in moments of toddler meltdowns, you can guide your little one with patience. Instead of reacting with negativity to the tantrum, you will be in a position to offer love and comfort.