Do you remember the days when things were easy with your baby?
Easy dinners out of the house at a fancy restaurant while your child slept in its carrier were the ultimate treat, weren’t they?
Well, if you’re thinking those days are long gone then you have come to the right place.
I think that all moms reminisce about those days, like a long lost friend. You remember the easy times and wish for them back. Well, you can have them back, you just have to change your way of thinking and how you plant the seeds with your little one.
Laying the Foundation
Look, I know….you’re afraid.
Life with a toddler isn’t as easy as when they were tiny blobs that slept all the time. Your world has been turned upside down and now you feel like you ‘re living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute they are happy and the next they are screaming because you didn’t cut their sandwich correctly. If you haven’t figured it out by now, you have now entered the world of “Toddlers and Tantrums”.
Toddlers and tantrums go hand in hand. You don’t have one without the other. The unfortunate side of this stage is life has suddenly become unpredictable.
I get it, the fear is real.
You might be afraid that your child is going to abrupt like Mt. St. Helen. The stares you might receive as your child throws themselves on the ground. Or the judgment that you just don’t feel like dealing with that day. But, don’t let that stop you. Don’t be held hostage by your toddler. Stand up, gain your ground and be confident. You and only you can turn this around.
Expect the Unexpected
I know, you must be thinking “well, she’s just a toddler, you are expecting too much”. Am I? Let’s first be clear that tantrums are completely normal. But, it’s how you handle the toddler during the tantrum that’s key to getting out of this mess.
Life with a toddler can be as blissful as when they were newborns. As parents, we are creating the foundation for their adulthood. We are in essence planting the seeds to how they will cope with their emotions now, just as much as how they will cope with them when they are adults.
The Journey into toddler utopia is a journey. May I repeat……it’s a journey.
So, let’s get ready to get Zen. We’re going there.
View Life Through Your Toddlers Eyes
Life for a toddler is all very new and exciting. With all that excitement can come a flood of emotions. They can’t communicate like they want to and we don’t understand baby babble, so that can create meltdowns or tantrums. The life of a toddler is up and down. One moment they are fully happy and content, but the next they are kicking and screaming.
Usually meltdowns occur when the child wants something they can’t have or wants to do something you don’t want them to do. They obviously and unfortunately don’t like the word no so they cry, whine and do everything else in their power to frazzle you to give in. The first step is to stay calm but to also stand your ground. You don’t have to give in to every desire they want, but you can do some simple steps to diffuse the situation.
If When your child has a meltdown; the first thing I suggest is to look at it from their point of view. I know, I know. You are thinking…..it’s not that big of a deal, you tell them they are fine and move on. Not so fast. Just because you might not think it’s a big deal, life through their eyes is much different. Get down to their level and try and understand how they are feeling. Once you see and understand why they are upset, it helps you understand and validate their feelings. This simple step can help settle down your child much quicker than just saying no.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
The life of a toddler can seem very complex. They have all these new emotions, but they don’t know yet what to do with them. It’s also a time where they are still learning to communicate. Sometimes a cry, whine or tantrum is their way of letting us know they aren’t ok.
Let’s admit it; do we really know how to handle our emotions as adults?
Once you have come to have a better understanding why they are upset, now you can acknowledge their feelings. This acknowledgement provides them empathy and helps them feel understood.
I believe this step helps them feel. It also shows them that it’s ok to feel. We want our kids to be able to internalize their emotions and to cope with them. If we just redirect them and tell them they are “ok”….. we aren’t validating their feelings and emotions.
We have to remember, tantrums are just a way for them to be heard. It’s their communication to us and it’s up to us to listen to them.
To diffuse the tantrum, show them that you understand their feelings by saying what happened and that you understand why they are mad. The flood of emotions begins to burn out once their feelings are acknowledged, trust me. It really does work.
If you are questioning the acknowledgment part, remember a time when you had an argument with your husband or significant other. You probably stayed upset until you felt that the other person validated your feelings. Well, this is the same scenario, but in a toddler kind of way.
Stay in Your Zen
Have you ever heard the saying “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”? Your children are sponges and learn everything from you, which is why you can’t act like a nut. If they see you getting as upset as they are during their tantrums, they will feed off this and learn that behavior is normal and acceptable. This is the complete opposite of what we want them to learn. So, teach them what you want them to learn from you. Stay. Calm.
It is imperative that you do whatever it takes to stay calm during their meltdowns. If you have to bite your lip, think happy thoughts or count to 10, do it. Your toddlers’ sanity depends on it…and probably yours too.
Once they have finished their hair-raising meltdown and have come back to you for support, provide them love. Be there for them and give them a much needed hug. Tell them that you love them and that you are always there for them. Also, you will want to provide a solution to them, so they can understand their feelings, but also how to handle the situation and to get through it.
The success of finding toddler utopia is based on your navigation through the tantrums and negative emotions they face. By handling their emotions in a positive way, they will eventually face less and less tantrums because of their ability to cope better with their emotions. This can be a long and windy road, but if you are willing to put in the work, you will reap the rewards. Life will be a lot less chaotic and challenging. Don’t get me wrong, life with kids will always be challenging, but in a lot less stressful way.