Culture & Entertainment

Top tips for tantrums that don't actually work on my kid

By: Jennifer Gruden
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Top tips for tantrums that don't actually work on my kid

By: Jennifer Gruden
Dear readers, I write to you from our happy holiday home where I am enjoying the company of my sons as we play Playdough, assemble Duplo and Lego, go for walks to admire the crazy beauty of Toronto's ice storm, and read a metric ton of books. Except...I am also handling my darling youngest son, who will turn three next month. And I am starting to develop post-tantrum stress disorder. My eldest child did have tantrums, and maybe I have just blocked out the memory, but I really don't remember it being quite so pyrotechnic in my home. I will be consulting experts as soon as the New Year permits, but in the meantime, do you have any awesome tips? Here's what is not working at all:
  • Giving choices, or empowering him through play where he gets to boss me around for a little bit. I'm sure both these things are great for his development as a person, but the old "would you like to go to bed in red pajamas or blue pajamas" is just not effective.
  • Getting him to take "deep yoga breaths." This worked on my eldest, honest.
  • Reflecting his feelings. I love Happiest Toddler on the Block and so I gamely got down and started reflecting my little guy's feelings when denial of chocolate caused a meltdown. "You REALLY WANTED that chocolate. You are ANGRY you can't have it."
Here's what works sometimes:
  • (Short) Time outs for truly egregious behaviour (hitting, spitting)
  • Letting him stay in his room...only trouble is, he trashes it.
  • Distraction on the level of a new pony. "Look, it's Santa Claus!"
Any techniques I am missing? What worked for your kids? (Illustration: iStock)
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Top tips for tantrums that don't actually work on my kid

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