Sunday, 16 May 2010

3 steps to stop a tantrum...

Some more tips on parenting today. I can't pretend to be expert. I only share what works for us! I'll be talking about make-up cleansers next time - because I've been getting spots since wearing make-up this last 6 months, and I can only assume it's due to not cleansing it properly at night. So any advice would be good!

Anyway - back to the issue of 'tantrums', or as I call them 'bottom lip moments'!

1. If the tantrum is threatening to start because you have said "No" in response to a request for something, immediately get down to your child's level. If they are talking, wait patiently for a pause, and then say "(Name of Child), Mummy has said No. That means No."

2. If the issue is one of timing, then you can follow this, before they get chance to interrupt ideally, with a brief explanation why. And it should be brief. For example; "You cannot have a chocolate biscuit now, because we are going to have dinner in a minute. If you behave nicely, and eat up your dinner, you may be able to have something chocolaty for pudding". Be careful to actually allow this if you promise it. If you don't want them to have a biscuit at all, then no promises of one later should be made. Above all you need to be trustworthy!

3. Immediately distract the child with an activity. "Come on; let's do some sticking before dinner"

The response is likely to be either; a full on, bottom lip out, stamping feet, crying tantrum. Or, an obliging child, sufficiently told, happy(ish) to do 'sticking' for the time being. If you do get the tantrum, you have one extra step of your choice.

Either, you warn the child that if they continue to scream and shout after you've counted to five, they will have to go on the Naughty Step. And follow it through.

Or, state clearly that you will not discuss this anymore, and turn your attention away from the child (either by going out of the room, or turning to play with another sibling, actively making a big deal out of the fun you and the other child are having.)

I find these methods work really well. I rarely manage to count to five. And when the elder does stop sniffling, and is clearly making an effort to calm down, I immediately stop counting and revert to the distraction activity again, but making a big deal about how well she has done to calm down. "Well done! We can go and do some sticking now. We don't want to be crying do we. Let's quickly blow your nose," (move child across the room, or into another room) "and we'll get those Dora stickers out. Cor! There's a lot of stickers here. Shall we make a card, or a picture?"

Throwing more questions her way makes her think about something else. And moving her, even if just to get a tissue, is distracting because her environment changes. And if I'm lucky, the episode ends there.

I hope that's helpful. Let me know if anyone has any other methods for dealing with those 'bottom lip' moments!

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