I’ve got to say, this toddler tantrum malarkey has pounced on me like a mugger from a bush. I mean, I’d heard all about these terrible twos, but give me a break. My kid’s barely one!
There’s no doubt about it – toddlers are angsty little suckers. It’s like they have all the “why the hell are you getting in my face” rage of a teenager, but with an even worse ability to express themselves. At least teenagers can talk (well, grunt).
It seems like it’s all going on for these toddlers. Teething, the dreaded leaps, having to learn to do ALL OF THE STUFF. No wonder they get ranty.
Now I don’t know much about much, but I’ve been trying out a few tricks in the interests of trying to keep my sanity in the eye of the storm. So I thought I’d share what works for me.
If you have any tips of your own (let’s face it, you’re probably all a lot better at this circus than I’ll ever be) get ready to add them to the list. Because when this hell kicks off, we need all the ideas we can get…
Toddler Tantrum Trick #1
Making a constant shhhhhhh noise
No, not as in shut the hell up you little monster, you’re screwing with my mind. I’m not all bad. This is more of a white noise shh, to distract them from their little paddy fling.
Maybe they find it calming, or something. I know I do. And yes, it does help with keeping those swear words on lock down. As if we would!
So there it is – a constant shh. Be like the wind, man.
Toddler Tantrum Trick #2
Sing a nursery rhyme on a loop
For some reason, these tiddlers love a bit of repetition, and those nursery rhymes are like kiddy catnip.
How do they even know which tunes are theirs? Because this trick doesn’t work if you sing Snoop Dogg gansta rap, let me tell you. They’re no fools.
Although I’ve managed to trick my Tasmanian devil into believing “mum’s changing your bum bum” repeated fifty times in a sing song voice is an actual rhyme. Suckerrrr.
Another benefit of the nursery rhyme trick is it’s like putting my fingers in my ears and singing TRA LA LA I can’t bloody hear you. Win-win.
Toddler Tantrum Trick #3
Repeat back the tantrum noises in a non-aggressive, matter of fact fashion
This is like having a full-blown conversation in the language of paddy. What’s good for the goose, and all that.
The thing about paddy noises is that they sound pretty stupid when repeated back. The boy can’t help but stare in bewilderment, a bit like when you bark at a dog. At first he seems impressed. Then because I’m such a good paddy actress, he begins to giggle. He can’t help himself. Mummy is just too funny. Et voila, bomb diffused. Mummy should work for the bomb squad.
Toddler Tantrum Trick #4
Be extra nice
Remember when there was a mean witch at school, and you dealt with it by being extra smarmy and nice? Well, it’s a bit like that. I’m not saying this has great success at making the tantrum stop, but it helps me feel like I’m back in control.
Because damn it, I can’t be outdone by a one year old!
The more whining ensues, the more charming I become. You won’t break me, tiny beast…
(And OK, if we’re being serious, when a toddler has a massive strop they often just need a bit of nice. So what the hey…)
Toddler Tantrum Trick #5
Leave the room for a Home Alone moment
You know the one – where Macaulay Culkin clasps his hands over his face and screams to the heavens. Admittedly, his outburst was caused by a nasty aftershave situation, but I’m sure if he had a toddler to contend with he’d do much the same.
Obviously make sure your child is safe and all that jazz, before you go MIA. Being left Home Alone didn’t work out so well for Macaulay when the burglars rocked up.
But I find a few seconds to myself to have a silent scream releases a bit of the crazy. Then I can reapply my mum face and waltz back in like nothing’s happened. Genius.
Toddler Tantrum Trick #6
Be the clown
Do everything in a slap stick fashion with exaggerated enthusiasm and added drum rolls. Seems to trick them into thinking something good is on its way, so maybe they should quit the noise in case they miss it.
My poor child will grow up thinking putting your socks on is the event of the flipping year. And maybe it should be.
Toddler Tantrum Trick #7
Speak in keywords
One of the design flaws of a toddler is that they’re just not fluent in any language. Pretty annoying. But fear not. Much like a search engine, they will pick up certain keywords. (It’s a bit like SEO for bloggers – many giggles about that here!)
So when a tantrum arises, I try to stay calm and explain the situation using keywords. Like ‘hey, it’s OK. I might be confiscating your fave Gruffalo, but it’s snack time. There will be biscuits. Then we’ll go for a lovely walk, whereupon you’ll fall into a deep sleep, because mummy needs a breaaaak, beep beep beep it.
I’m not suggesting bribery here, by the way. Feel free to replace the word biscuit with wholesome slice of apple if it’s in your child’s keyword dictionary. There’s just something about flinging them a bit of certainty to cling to that seems to appease them.
Toddler Tantrum Trick #8
LEAVE THE HOUSE!
Obviously take the child with you. But escaping the four walls when it’s all kicking off?
Plus, my little trickster doesn’t much like to act like a maniac in public. Of course, he has his moments. But in general he likes to pretend he’s the model child when folk are watching, reserving his best tantrum action for the house.
And if he does feel the need for a bit of a public showpiece, I can usually win a sympathetic nod from another understanding mother. Or at least I’ve got someone else to have a strop of my own in front of.
A New Job for Brazen Mummy?
So there are my tricks. When toddler-hood is done, I’m thinking of retraining as a crisis negotiator. Not sure how well the clown suit will go down, but I’ve got a lovely supply of biscuits.
Can you help the masses with any tips of your own? We’re in it together, peeps; I NEED YOU! So please do scroll down a bit and add your survival ideas in the comments box. SOS…
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