If you have recently had a child, you can hold that newborn in your arms and breathe easy. They truly are the sweetest, most amazing thing you’ve ever done, right? Good job you.
Fast forward a year. Miraculous! They’re sitting, crawling, moving, walking, smiling at you. They’re communicating with you. Everything they do is a pure miracle of life-and it’s all thanks to you. Great parenting, well done.
Another year flies by. Who is this child? Who flipped the switch? What is this…a tantrum? You betcha! They are inevitable. Any parent who tells you their child has never had a tantrum is lying. 100% lying.
A tantrum doesn’t necessarily mean lying on the floor, banging fists on the ground, screaming and crying bloody murder…but it certainly can! All children have tantrums in different ways. How do you cope? I have three options for you: Anticipate, ignore or deal with the consequences.
Anticipate. Your child is a ball of fire-filled energy, constantly burning. Feed it, let it sleep (or have some down time) and have a plan. You’re going to the grocery store right before lunch and a nap? My opinion? PROBABLY DON’T…or have a snack and make it quick. PLAN for a possible meltdown. It’s okay to expect more from your children. Screaming in a grocery store is not negotiable. If it happens, you’re leaving. Make the consequences known and follow through.
Ignore. Any parent of a toddler will tell you this one might take a little while to get used to, but you’ll become an expert in no time. I’m not one to accept bad behaviour, but I will ignore constant pleas for chocolate or ice cream. Once I say “NO!”, I expect my children to listen. If they continue to badger me, I no longer have ears that can hear them. Especially if they’re whining. I don’t do well with whining.
Deal. If you go into a situation knowing your child is tired, hungry and cranky, you’re on your own. I’m all for expecting kids to suck it up, but sometimes, it’s ok to understand that they need some down time. If they’re over scheduled, this will come back to haunt you and you’ll have to deal with the consequences. If you do not prepare your children for what is expected of them, you’ll have to prepare for the consequences. You know your children best. I find mine start to crack at about 45 minutes…of anything. Playing with puzzles? We start tidying up at 45 minutes and find some colouring books. Tobogganing? 45 minutes then we’ll move on to hot chocolate. This is the magic time frame that seems to work for my three children. As they get older, they’ll be able to handle more…with less. It’s up to you to decipher what is going to work for your family.
The earlier you start with healthy expectations of your children, the better. Boundaries are a good thing. A HEALTHY fear of parents and authority is a good thing. Children should be familiar with the rules in your house and when you’re out in public. And for years and years, you will constantly be reminding them of these boundaries and rules. It will work out for your benefit. My kids finally say “Please” and “Thank you” without being harassed. It only took a few years, no big deal!
Tantrums do not need to be a daily reality. Anticipate, ignore and deal. Follow through. Go get ‘em!
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