Everybody, who have to spend more or less time with toddlers, have had to face the stubborness and crying of these sweet little humans that sometimes don't act so sweet. Bad mood just comes and takes over the whole situation ...in case we allow that. But how to bring the harmony back really quickly?
There are million ways to prevent toddlers from being stubborn and start crying. Here are some tips and trickts that I have practiced and used on my two kids and at least some of them have helped. Although kids are different as are their reactions to their surroundings and situations, below you'll find tips that are pretty universal and should "save the day".
- Different ways of breathing
- Toilet method
- Is it the end of the world?
- Point of attention
- Let kid decide
- Sitting on the Angelic chair
1. "Mine!" shouts the little girl about to burst into tears. Wow, it is annoying when the little one doesn't know how to share. One thing that really worked with my daughter from 1.5-3 years of age, was whispering. She was so annoyed that she couldn't scream out loud because she wanted to hear what I was whispering about. For some time it was a really useful trick! She just had to stop crying and once she did, she forgot to continue after that little break of listening mommy doing the whispering trick. Soon the light returned back in her eyes.
2. Breathing! So important, yet most people have forgotten how to correctly breathe. If you want to observe breathing, watch a newborn. They naturally practice deep breathing by using the diaphragm, a muscle under the lungs, to pull air into the lungs. Visually, you’ll see the belly expand and chest rise. As they exhale, the belly contracts. When we breathe in a shallow way, the body remains in a cyclical state of stress—our stress causing shallow breathing and our shallow breathing causing stress. When you notice that your kid is about to burst into tears, he/she probably breathes shallow. Try different ways to get your kid to return to deep breathing and you'll see it miraculously working. By the way - it also works perfectly on adults ;) Try it next time yourself, when you're about to burst with anger. Usually it only takes 1-2 breaths and your conciousness returns to the present moment. Same way the kid forgets what was the issue, and calms down. Harmony is restored 100% when you add a warm hug. Here are some tips how to get your kid to breathe more deeply:
- Ask your kid to smell something: find a flower, take something interesting out of your purse (lipstick, hand lotion etc). When he/she tries to smell something, he/she is immediately taking a deep breathe.
- "Interesting, what are the neighbours cooking today that have such a smell?" you tell your kid even if there's nothing to smell. Try to smell and ask the kid to do the same. And we have broken again the shallow breathing cycle.
- Try to breath together and look how the belly is rising, and during exhale, contracting. It's the natural way for newborns, animals and also yogis practice it. There's a lot of information in internet about belly breathing and probably we will write about it some time in the future - it has tons of benefits. For kid, it is good fun to see mommy belly rising and there you go - all crying forgotten.
3. You can throw toddler tantrums into toilet and flush. Well, in case you happen to be near the toilet. And better not to waste too much fresh water flushing it ;) Our son was an "expert" throwing away anger and crying into toilet :D Wash away the tears, and done!
4. If the kid has already started yelling and crying and screaming, it's very important for an adult to stay calm. I know it's easier said than done, but it really helps if you use your breathing trick, or just think that it's not the end of the world if your kid is crying. Try to look inside yourself and see if there's something that would help you to calm down. In this case, one is better than two, so let the kid scream and you stay calm. Kids are developing a relationship with themselves and need to explore their emotional skills. When you stay calm, the kid soon will follow, because he/she can sense it in you.
5. Descend to the same level as your kid. Kid always has to look up to the parents and when someone is angry with him/her it makes the kid feel more alone and angry. Bend down, squat if necessary and talk to your kid as he/she is your best friend. Listen and try to understand. Look the kid in the eye and tell him/her that you have a lot of love to share. Show that you care about his/her feelings. Kids are sometimes just as frustrated about their overflowing emotions as adults are. They don't know how to cope. Sit together and be there for your kid. Make him/her feel safe. There's no such thing as a bad kid. Kids behave badly sometimes, but that's just behaviour. In our hearts, we are all good.
6. Distract kids attention.
- In a shop, when the kid wants candy, you can distract the attention with showing a very tasty watermelon, offer dried banana chips or promise to make a smoothie at home from nice fresh fruits. If your kid wants a toy, offer him/her a puzzle, because it's good for the brain development. You can always offer that he/she can maybe have the toy for a birthday or for a Christmas present. Promise to make a wishlist first thing when you get home and he/she can draw all the toys that are desires.
- "Oh, is there a pig flying?" Good old magical trick, but still works.
- You can always start an interesting conversation about how much fun you had yesterday at grandmother's place or what a great weekend is ahead of you and all the fun stuff you are going to do together. Kids love to hear about parents doing things with them and all the stubborness or crying is forgotten. Not to mention - you've got to keep your promise to play every now and then, otherwise he/she will lose faith in you and it's something hard to get back.
7. Let kid to decide as well. With my 3 yo daughter we've had long conversations about what we are going to let her choose this time (before entering the shop). If you give him/her a choice, he/she feels responsible and respected, so he/she will cooperate. When the situation has already gone "bad", I usually give 2-3 items to choose from and usually that's it. The brain has to start analyzing which item to choose and no time for screaming anymore. One little candy or an ice-cream or... . But if ice-cream goes on a shirt, you all are going to be sad about the stain. Or if you choose between small toy and big toy, you can take a small toy and the remaining money goes into spa-fund or to some other desirable thing-fund. "No" usually doesn't work with the kids of the new era, only tricks to direct the choice toward your own desire ;)
8. Sitting on an Angelic chair. Oh, it is true! With my little angel it worked great for some time. When a kid sits on this chair with angel wings, it gives kids the feeling of being safe and held and guarded by angels. The whole idea about our furniture is to bring peace and harmony to your home. The wings protect and imaginary angels hug softly. With my daughter, it even worked so well that when she realised she was getting emotional about something, she went to sit there for a while and later came to tell me that she already sat there and now she's feeling a lot better :) SO every time your little one is about to burst into tears, you can ask the kid if he/she wants to try to feel the angels hug while sitting on the chair. You can buy the angelic chair or chair and table set from our webshop where we ship worldwide, or in Estonia from Superkuu.ee , ON24.ee or in Finland ON24.fi
I wish you good luck and have an angelic way of solving the next emotional situation :)