This week’s listicle comes from Ellen. We share lots in common: location, great kid, love of dogs and blogs. Wander over to her blog and subscribe, you can never have enough Wonton! If you would like to have YOUR list featured next Monday, click here.
Ellen is a mother to a rowdy little boy whom she loves more than life itself. She married her college sweetheart and moved to the beautiful state of Oregon in the Pacific Northwest. When she isn’t hanging out with her favorite buddy boy, whom she refers to in her blog as Little Wonton, and her two dogs, Simba and Nala, she is either playing Wordfeud on her Andriod, reading a free book on her Kindle, and, of course, surfing the intertubes and writing in her blog.
Top 10 Ways to Manage Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrum (and other bad behaviors)
Since Little Wonton recently shared a page out of his handbook, I thought I’d share a page out of mine. These tactics are not necessarily mother approved, though Mama Wonton approved.
1. Identify the Trigger. Is your child cranky because he’s hungry or sleepy?
Sometimes, there is a specific trigger that makes a child irritable. Identifying the trigger may help you avoid the meltdowns. For example, if your child is irritable because he is tired, make sure he gets enough sleep. Or if your child is irritable when he’s hungry, carry some snacks when you’re out and about.
2. Attention. Do you spend some quality time each day with your child?
Sometimes, we spend so much time doing what we need to do, such as cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and laundry, that the child may feel neglected and start seeking negative attention. Spend some quality time each day with your child doing something he likes, such as reading, building train tracks, or playing hide and seek.
3. Communicate. If you child can talk, do you ask him why he’s upset?
Sometimes, toddlers forget they can talk or ask for help. For example, Little Wonton sometimes starts throwing a fit for something he wants to eat, even though it’s not something I’d normally object to giving him. Trying to communicate with him often helps him remember that he can simply ask nicely.
4. Time Out.
There are many a times that toddlers are just misbehaving. A properly executed time out is often an effective deterrence for that kind of behavior. For example, when Little Wonton drives his trains on our wood furniture and walls, I tell him to stop because he’s going to “make owwies on” (scratch up) the furniture and walls. If he persists, I count to three and put him on a two minute time out at the count of three.
5. Ignore Them.
There are times you toddler will dare to throw a terrible two fit in public. If at all possible, I think the most effective method to deter future tantrums is to simply ignore them.
For example, Little Wonton likes to scream for fun because it gets a reaction. Of course, he never feels the need to do this at home, just in public. If we tell him to stop, he does it more, and he thinks it’s ridiculously hilarious. For this particular behavior. I’m actually pretty good at putting on a poker face and ignoring dirty looks from strangers. Little Wonton doesn’t bother to seek attention from me by screaming. Husband, on the other hand, can’t help reacting to Little Wonton’s screams because he finds it embarrassing to ignore. Instead, Husband tries to either cover his mouth or hush him. And so, Little Wonton reserves his screams for Husband.
Of course, the good old traditional methods above can be a pain in the bottom to execute, so here are some alternative Mama Wonton methods…
6. Feed Them. Distract Them.
A munching mouth is a quiet mouth. When we’re out and about, I try to remember to carry some of Little Wonton’s favorite snacks with me, such as freeze dried fruits and granola bars, and only give it to him when we’re out of the car.
7. Threaten Them. Inform them of the Consequences.
Sometimes, Little Wonton throws a fit because he wants to walk instead of sit in the stroller or shopping cart. I tell him that is fine as long as he stays with me… but if he runs off, I will put him back in the stroller or shopping cart.
Other times, Little Wonton will refuse to go potty or get dressed before we leave. If I attempt to physically force him to do it, he’ll throw a fit. Instead, I tell him if he doesn’t go potty or get dressed, I’m going to go without him and he can stay home with the puppies… and then I make my way out the door. This works every time.
8. Bribe Them. Reward them for Good Behavior.
Lately, Little Wonton has been throwing fits to get out of something, like his seat in a restaurant. To prevent him from running and climbing about like a wild monkey, I tell him that if he says in his seat, we’ll order ice cream (or some other dessert) after dinner.
9. Argue with Them. Make it a Game.
Sometimes, when I’m at Target, Little Wonton demands a toy car, truck, or some other vehicle he sees. Of course, if it reaches his hands, I will most likely have no luck prying it out without a huge meltdown. Instead of telling him “no”, which also triggers a meltdown, I say something like “I want a bunny”…
I want a car.
I want a bunny.
I want a car.
I want a bunny.
I want a bunny, please!
[Gives me a pretend bunny].
Oh, Thank You!
I want a car!
[Gives him a pretend car].
No! I want car!
I want bunny!
[Repeat… eventually gives up].
10. Lie to Them. The “Later” Method.
Sometimes, I take Little Wonton somewhere he thinks is really fun, such as Playdate PDX, which he calls “Dragon Castle.” When it’s time to go, he refuses to leave. To avoid a meltdown, I make a mental note of things he’s willing to leave there for, like visit Husband. So I tell him that, “if we go now, we see Baba later.” This only works because sometimes we do actually go “see Baba” for lunch. But oftentimes, by the time we arrive home, he forgets… and “later” technically isn’t a lie right?