Handling Toddler Tantrums
Just when I thought I had a handle on parenting, a new phase has started and I’m re-learning everything I thought I knew. Every phase so far has had it’s joys and challenges. But handling toddler tantrums has brought things to an entirely new level. When things are good, they are really good. And when things are bad, I understand why wine was created.
The thing I realized early on in parenthood is that there is no right or wrong approach to anything, so instead of worrying about what I “should” be doing, I try to do what feels right for me and B. As we get closer to two, here are the things I’m trying to keep in the back of my mind so that I stay confident- and sane- in my parenting choices.
The key to most anything in life is patience. As a parent, I’ve found that having patience with my kid and with myself is crucial. Last week, in just one day we had a series of tantrums. In those situations, it’s only natural to get frustrated but I try to remember it goes both ways. I imagine being frustrated and not being able to say it, so I try to empathize and ride it out.
Remembering that phases, and even moments, are fleeting is a good reminder to both enjoy and endure each stage. I’ve learned that in life that if you stay calm things most likely will work themselves out. This is true for kids as well. I view my job as a parent to provide stability and emotional support. As much as I can do that, sometimes there’s nothing I can do. So in those times, I just have to be there and wait. (loved this post on that point of view)
In the baby stage, ultimately I was in control of our days. But now that my kid has his own opinion, it’s a lot harder to do what I want when I want to do it. More than ever I’ve learned that going with the flow and staying patient helps make everything run a lot smoother. While I may not be able to control everything my child does anymore, I can control my attitude and I’ve found that letting loose a bit helps.
Just like adults, changing your toddler’s state can change their mood. For example, if we are having a meltdown while getting ready for bed we will often move from the changing table to the floor to get ready. During meals, if the high chair isn’t comfortable I’ll bring him to sit on my lap at the table. More than not, it works!
One aspect we’ve really struggled with lately is teeth brushing. It’s just not sticking for B and it’s a bit of a fight. A few weeks back when I was reading this great blog post on healthy eating and consistency it hit me- I needed to be more consistent. So, I made the choice to stick with it every night and slowly things are getting better. I wouldn’t say we’re perfect- but making it a habit helps a lot.
The same goes with our routines. Our week days are pretty structured but even on the weekends, our days begin and end the same way. With our routines to fall back on, it seems to help everything run more smoothly even on rocky, emotional toddler days.
I’m currently working my way through Simplicity Parenting after seeing some of the princples applied by my favorite entrepreneur, Emily Ley. The book both spoke to me and frustrated me at the same time, but I’m getting a lot of it.
One main point that has stuck out to me the most is the need for room in order for kids to develop. The book talks about the need for both physical space and mental space. Physical meaning not a lot of toy clutter, which I believe in and mental meaning time. Our schedule tends to be hectic and I’m thinking a lot about where we can scale back.
Just like his parents, B does best when he’s well rested, fed and able to explore. We try to do things as a family as much as possible that let him learn while having fun. Last week’s outing was our local Botanic Garden and this week’s was an Art Festival. As a plus side, this aspect of parenting is one I love the most. Seeing new things through his eyes is the absolute best and makes it all worth it.
This is one of those posts that I’ll probably look back on and laugh, but it was important for me to write. I’m a planner by nature and mentally preparing for our next phase is something I felt I needed to do.