I’m no expert – just a mom. And I’m a toddler mom, so I guess I am an expert in some way or another. However, right now while I write this, my toddler is throwing a seriously epic tantrum. It’s putting a big halt to my afternoon plans, which included going for a jog, maybe some ice cream, reading a book while she played happily in the mud and so forth. My husband, as awesome as he is, can’t tolerate the toddler drama. His blood temperature rises (and sometimes his voice), so I usually shoo him outside or away when the tantrums unfold.
We were just about to walk into the store when it started. She didn’t want to sit in the cart – she wanted to walk all on her own. Because we were planning on doing a bit more shopping than toddler strolling allowed, we insisted she sit in the cart.
And things escalated from there.
Instead of trying to reason with her (really, I actually did so I’m kind of lying right now – there was total bribery involved but it didn’t work), I sent the husband inside to pick up the items we needed right now and took the screaming tot to the car.
Pummeling fists, kicking legs, and screaming ensued.
I shoved her into the car seat, locked her up tight, rolled down the windows, and hung-out around the car checking my Instagram feed while she SCREAMED AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS.
Sure, lots of people stared me down. I just smiled back.
Toddlers have drama, there’s just no way around it, and sometimes it’s best to just let things go.
I’m not going to hug and kiss her and offer her this or that to get her to stop. I’m not going to give in when she’s the one that needs to do the right thing.
I’m just as stubborn – if not more – than she is.
But there are a few things you can do when your tot has a breakdown:
Take a deep breath! This sometimes isn’t the easiest thing to do when your toddler is screaming her head off, but just do it. After you get some air into your lungs, calmly tell your child what is going to happen – and stick to it. I told my tot that if she didn’t sit in the cart we would go to the car. She didn’t sit in the shopping cart so we went to the car.
Don’t bribe. Yeah, so I can’t really say I didn’t try, but when your child is already in the middle of a tantrum, most times she is so worked up even offering that bribe isn’t going to register. Older toddlers are starting to figure out that this type of behavior often results in receiving what they want, which isn’t great for us adults.
Try a distraction. If your child isn’t in the middle of throwing herself to the floor (which means she’s at the beginning stages of a total tantrum), offer a distraction. Sing a song, point out something amazing (LOOOOOK a dog!), or tickle her. This often works for us, but today things had already hit the uber tantrum level.
Act like nothing is happening. Take it from me, removing yourself from the situation, while still being close enough if your child starts being a danger to herself, is a great way to de-stress the situation. After the husband got in the car with our essentials, we acted as if we didn’t have a crazed toddler in the back seat and, as soon as we arrived home, I deposited in her room and picked up my laptop. I’ve been typing away for about 20-minutes now and she’s starting to calm down.
Talk about it later. Whenever we have a breakdown like this I always make sure to talk about it later. I offer her the words she might need to tell me about why she got so upset. I also make sure to share how I felt frustrated with the situation and discuss how we can make things better next time. It’s important to give big hugs and kisses once things have calmed down to let your child understand you still think she is super special even though things weren’t so fun for a little bit.
What works at with your tot when it’s toddler drama time? DO SHARE!
I’m off to chat with my little creature so we can hopefully still have that ice cream….