Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to Prevent (Some) Tantrums

My little helper spinning the lettuce.
One of the hardest parts of disciplining for me is picking my battles. I learned quickly to prevent some tantrums by using the following techniques.

No More Forbidden Fruit
The first is letting my toddler do usually forbidden things at appropriate times. For example, his aunt let him play with the lightswitches one day, and he wanted to continue playing with them all day. At first I said no, and of course he got upset. Then I made it a point to let him turn on and off the lights as needed. Because I let him do it at those times, he soon stopped asking to do it all the time. This technique has worked for a number of situations, usually those involving some sort of button or switch.

Little Helper
I used to get upset with my son taking the kitchenware out of the cabinets. Then I thought I'd put his knowledge of the kitchen to good use and had him help me put the clean dishes away. He loved it and still does. Now he always helps me unload the dishwasher and put away some dishes. He also helps me with the laundry.

Next to tackle was grocery shopping. I started by letting him put things in the cart and putting produce in the bags. But the last few months he has refused to sit in the cart, so now I also let him push the cart below me. Lately we've had lots of meltdowns at the store, though, because he wants to run around and grab everything, so I need to figure out my next step.

I also let Caden help me cook by helping him measure and stir things. If there is something he wants to do that is unsafe, I guide him to his play kitchen so he can pretend to do it.

Mine and Yours
Caden always wants to touch and use our things, so we get him his own. He has his own computer keyboard that I got at the thrift store for 50 cents, a fake cell phone that came with his play kitchen (also from the thrift store), and a fake TV remote. When he wants something of mine, I remind him he has own, be it books, toys, writing or eating utensils, food, etc. The fact that he has things that are specifically his usually satisfies him.

When I know Caden doesn't want to do something, I will give him choices of how to do it so that he feels he has some control and is more cooperative. For example, he usually refuses to go down for a nap and wants me to continue reading him books. I tell him he can either lie down by himself, have me lie down with him, or let me rock and sing him to sleep. Naturally, he chooses the latter options and falls alseep.

Quality Time
One of the most common causes of Caden's tantrums is lack of attention. We get so caught up in our own busy lives or relaxing days off that we often ignore Caden and expect him to entertain himself. I've been trying to be better about including him in my necessary activities, limiting unnecessary ones, and spending time with him with no distractions so that he knows and feels that I love and want to be with him.

What are some techniques you use to prevent tantrums?


Alexandra said...

I read this post about awhile ago and discovered a fun tantrum ender. So I make these 'ninja star' out of popsicle sticks and let Andrew throw them at the ground or wall (or if that doesn't work I throw one at his feet). They totally distract him from whatever is bothering him and instantly make him laugh. I just make them the night before and have a huge basket full for the day. hehe. Let me know if Caden likes them!

Mrs. Sanchez said...

Only Comment: You're an amazing mom!

Francesca said...

Thanks, Francine, but sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I really resent being a mom.

DAD said...

terrible twos are here but you will both get through it. DAD- glad he likes to help you sometimes.

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