I will never forget the first time my daughter had a full-blown, screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs temper tantrum. She was about 18-months at the time, and even though I knew she was in a bad mood when we left the house that day, we were in dire need of groceries. Of course, most sane mothers would have used this as an excuse to order takeout for dinner, but since I birthed the pickiest eater known to mankind, I knew risking a public meltdown so I could stock up on blueberry waffles was the lesser of 2 evils.
Things seemed to pick up during the drive to the grocery store and I thought I was in the clear, but when I tried to put my Sweet Bear into her stroller and she arched her back and refused to bend any part of her body, I knew I was in trouble.
And I was right.
That was the start of the Terrible Twos, which was followed by the Trying Threes, and now we’re in the throes of the Fabulous Fours, and I’m too nervous to see what Five has to offer us…
The good news is that I’m a pretty resourceful person, and after reading a lot of mom blogs online and doing a bit of trial and error of my own, I’ve come up with some pretty good tactics to keep temper tantrums at bay. And since I’m all about making the lives of other women easier, today I’m teaming up with the fabulous folks from Angel Soft to share 6 of my best Be Soft. Be Strong. tips to avoid temper tantrums.
1. MAKE MOM-AND-ME TIME A PRIORITY
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given as a mom is to make sure I carve out a little bit of mom-and-me time with my daughter each day. I initially thought this seemed silly – until she started school, I was attached to her 24/7! – but once I started making a conscious effort to put away distractions for 30 minutes or so each day, I noticed a huge difference in her behavior. I now make mom-and-me time part of our pre-bedtime routine, and whenever possible, I try to find other pockets throughout the day where I can unplug and focus on my daughter so that she feels like a priority and doesn’t need to act out to get my attention.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO TRIGGERS
During the Terrible Twos, when it felt like my daughter was having tantrums left, right, and center without rhyme or reason, I started recording the time and place each of her meltdowns occurred. Some were due to hunger and lack of sleep, and others were completely random, but I did notice that stores with toys were a big trigger for my little one. It seemed like anytime we went to Walmart or Target or any other retail outlet that had a toy section, my daughter inevitably had a meltdown when it was time to leave. So until I could reason with her, I simply avoided those stores altogether, and it made my life a lot easier!
Like a lot of other moms I know, I am constantly checking my phone throughout the day. Sometimes it’s because I legitimately have a work issue I need to be available for, but I would say 90% of the time it’s just a way to keep myself feeling connected to the adult world. And that’s cool. Everyone has their ‘thing’ that helps them get through the day. But when I started noticing a direct correlation between my daughter’s behavior and the amount of time I was saying, ‘just a minute!’ while I checked my email for the millionth time in an hour, I started to make a conscious effort to organize my day so that the bulk of my screen time occurs when my daughter is either at school or asleep. I find this strategy has made a huge difference not only in my daughter’s behavior, but also in my own productivity and happiness. I no longer feel like I’m shortchanging my daughter, and my brain doesn’t feel like it’s going to explode from trying to do too many things at once.
4. KEEP SNACKS HANDY
When I was chatting with one of the trainers at my gym about the transition to full-day kindergarten in September, she told me that one of the things that kept her kids from having tantrums between school pickup and dinner was to ensure she gave them a good, filling snack as she has always found hunger triggered bad behavior. I have always kept snacks in my purse for this exact reason, and find it goes a long way in keeping my daughter from having a spur-of-the-moment meltdown when we need to pop into the grocery store on our way home from school.
5. MAKE BEDTIME A PRIORITY
I’ve always known how important it is for my daughter to get enough sleep, especially when it comes to her behavior, but it took a long time for me to accept the fact that the same applies to me. So while I would love to stay up all night watching Netflix with my husband, I make a conscious effort to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night as I know from experience that the amount of sleep I get directly impacts my ability to tolerate temper tantrums!
While all of these tips work wonders in avoiding temper tantrums in our household, there are days when my little one is either not feeling well or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and try as I might, she just doesn’t want to cooperate with me. Fortunately for us, those days are few and far between, but when they do happen, I make sure to take a big breath and remind myself that she’s only human, and that not everyone can be on their best behavior 100% of the time.
If you’d like more tips for avoiding temper tantrums, check out this video by Angel Soft, which will reinforce some of the ideas I’ve already given to you, and provide you with even more!
And remember that there is no RIGHT way to parent your child, and only you know what’s best for your kids.
In the meantime…
Be Soft. Be Strong.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Georgia Pacific. The opinions and text are all mine.