Every parents' nightmare. ~~~ Our Tod's Tantrum Throwing.
When my little baby was 13months old, I started noticing a change in his behaviours. I noticed that he is more vocal (loud screaming and crying) over the things he DOES NOT GET.
It was a great period of bewilderment for my big boy and I because we really did not what to expect and did not know how to handle it.
My little baby will place us in many sudden fire-fighting situations when he was fine a sec ago and next second became some unreasonable lunatic. Or just a little brat.
We find it hard to handle and became really afraid to bring him out because we do not know when the Time Bomb goes off.
Why do our little going-to-be toddlers throw tantrums?
In the Tod's phase; I mean (children under 3), they have limited vocabulary. They cannot express their feelings or wants or needs or anything in full sentences at all.
If you have one who can? You have a prodigy!
The limitation in expressing themselves in proper words is the result of crying, screaming and repulsive behaviours. - Just so to really MAKE A POINT.
They are not ready. What are they not ready for? Many things. While they are still developing motor skills; it means they are also undeveloped in their brain neurons. Not everything makes sense to them and in fact most things do not make sense to them. So, even trying to try play some toys which require more developmental skills can frustrate them. So if you gave your child a toy which he/she is obviously still too young for it, - you will get trouble.
Our children are always constantly trying to develop. There is no one day which is boring or stagnant for them. They are growing everyday! Hence, you will catch your little ones trying to perform different motor skills like; stick a stick into a hole or trying to wear their own socks or clothes.
One of my baby's frustration was learning to twist and turn bottle caps onto bottles. Or even the journey of him wanting to learn to dress himself.
Learning to identify the different reasons of frustration can make your life easier as a parent. It helps you anticipate and hence you can plan forward.
My Top 3 Tantrum Fighting Methods!
1. Baby Sign Language
When my little baby was only a few months old, I had a friend who always told me to expose my little boy to baby sign language. Though for the fact that I learnt some basic Level 1 Sign Language before, as a mom, - I was just too lazy to teach my son anything, so I totally ignored it.
Soon after going through all the tantrum wars with my son, I decided to help him with his language in asking for something which he wants.
I taught him how to say 'Please' by signing. So whenever he throws a fit because he wants something and wants it now, I get to him say (sign) 'Please' before he gets to take it.
It helps bring him to the state of a calm behaviour and also enforces simple manners.
At 18months old, I taught him to sign 'Thank You' and 'Sorry'. The 2 most important vocabulary which most people lack at home.
So whenever he does something naughty or hurtful, I will get him to apologise. Or if someone did a kind thing to him, we say (sign) 'Thank You'.
These 3 sign languages helped us a long way!
2. Removing Mr T. Triggers.
You got to know your child. Observe enough, parents. Don't 'sabo' yourself. Do not be those who are so busy trying to be a parent by keeping yourself so busy with the day to day affairs of your children that you forget to sit back and watch and observe with mouths shut.
OBSERVE! What are the standard pattern of things or situations which clearly upsets your Tod? Is it the late timing of nap? Is it lack of solid foods? Is it that pen which lies on the table or in the car he/she wants to play with but you would not allow because they cannot handle it? What are those which you notice a pattern of frustration? Remove them.
Remove the Mr. T! Remember earlier on when I mentioned about my son's love for water bottles? But he just could not handle or figure how to cap the bottle back? For a good 2 months or so, I never held a mineral bottle infront of him and remove the bottles away from the dining table. Out of sight, out of mind.
3. Distractions! A.K.A Small Task Responsibility
This is going back to the basics. Our babies... literally - at infancy. From since as young as a little pea, they are handled best at the level of distractions. Do you still remember when they have their eyes fixated on their hunger at 6 months old? You distract them with a toy, or with some other things while trying to prepare their milk frantically? It is the same theory.
At 13 months on, you can start to guide your going-to-be-Tod into doing simple tasks. It is not only a great form of distraction, it is also a great chance to praise them.
At least as of now, I definitely know for sure under 2? Distractions still works for them. Distraction is a skill. I distract my son at the right time or know at when I need to distract him by observing his behaviour and understanding his triggers.
For instance, every time when my big guy showers my son, my son will end up crying and throwing tantrums because he will be asked to stop playing with whatever he was playing in the bathroom, and be brought out to dry himself. So showering becomes fire-fighting. Because a nice shower always turns out to be some back flipping, angry baby episodes.
So how do we make the showering experience even more pleasant that he would not even throw tantrums because he was asked to stop playing with his shower toys and be willing to dry himself and wear at least his diapers?
Give yourself some flow of thought.... Combating Tod's Tantrum is not headless chicken running around
The answer - Distraction.
With anticipation, I must be able to identify and plan ahead based on the following ~~~
Step 1. What are the things my son must never be given to play with? Shower Head. Because based on bad history, shower heads are the most difficult item to take away from him and it is most disruptive to showering him. Because how do you shower him if he hoards the shower heads? So, shower heads? No no.
Step 2. What are the things my son can play and will keep him entertained enough and happy enough to let me shower him nicely? Pail and water. Teaching him to splash water out from his small handheld pail.
Step 3. What will make him be unhappy when it is time to end the showering? Taking away his pail and refusing him water. Hence, I need a distraction for him to be willing to put the pail down and allow me to dry himself. Note to Self: He needs to do it willingly and happily.
So... How did I solve my big guy's problem at step 3?
I gave my little boy a little directive task. (For your reference)
This is what I did!
I reset and redirect!
To prep him into showering willingly, I will tell him --- let's go BomBom (shower).
I will ask him what we need to do when we need to shower. (obviously I know the answers)
I will answer for him - - by telling him we need to remove his clothes and that he needs to bring his clothes to his laundry basket. (directive 1)
He will return from placing his own clothes into the laundry basket and then I will tell him, I will help remove his diapers and then he will go throw the diapers into the bin. (directive 2)
Then he will get into his small tub (his new thing), then I will tell him to wash his hands, his toes or some other body parts.(Directive 3)
During this actual showering, I will do it like a speed of flash. (of cuz, I make sure I shower him clean!)
I will distract him by getting him blow the little bubble foams on his body or play with the little bubbles in the water. (Directive 4)
Then I will before attempting to end his shower... I will tell him to 'help me' pour off the water off the water from the tub together. (Directive 5)
With that notion, he will willingly step out of the tub, and assist in pouring water out from his small Mt Alvernia tub.
I will thank him, and tell him to go find his towel (which he would know where), and then get him to get his diaper. (Directive 6,7 respectively and separately)
With that, I have a smooth-sailing bombom moment with him and also cut short alot of unnecessary water play in the toilet, bargaining with him which ultimately ends up with him throwing his tantrums.
Always make the instructions to your toddler sound interesting and direct him to the task immediately. Always say thank you. Well done, good job. Such phrases does encourages our little ones to do the right thing.
Give your child a task which is obviously doable and you know perks their interest.
This method not only helps prevent the kid from entering into their tantrum performance, it will also enforce and strengthen them in the ability to listen and follow to instructions. And remember, THANK THEM AND PRAISE THEM!!!
So these are my Top 3 favourite Combat Mr T methods! Try them!