by Mia Von Scha, Transformational Coach, motivational speaker, children’s author, student to two Zen Masters (aka kids), avid cloud watcher and lover of life.
You know that moment when the whine starts escalating and you just know that a full-blown tantrum is about to assault you with all its loudness and irrationality? I’m sure that that is not a moment that you usually look forward to – until now. That is the exact moment that you can make lasting change by stepping out of your own comfort zone.
My favourite tool for this is called the Pattern Interrupt. Basically it’s creating an extreme interruption to an unwanted behavior that then creates a new neural pathway that will interfere with that behavior in future. It works like this…
At that very moment when the whine starts to escalate, you throw yourself down on the floor, kicking and screaming and flailing around (just like they were about to do). The trick to this working is twofold:
I used this myself with my youngest when she went through the terrible two’s and I know from experience that it works. The next time that whine starts escalating you look over and see that look of oncoming tantrum turn to confusion and then completely disappear. I love it! It’s also lots of fun and gives you an opportunity to vent some of your own frustration in the situation
The more flexible you are in your behavior, the more in control you are of whatever situation comes up. If you’re feeling too stressed or overwhelmed to be able to do what I have suggested, give us a shout – parenting is supposed to be challenging and to help you to grow, but it is also supposed to be fun.
by Sally Shuttleworth , mother of Emily (6yrs) and Elliot (4yrs) highly values the support and advice of other mothers, since her mom died when Emily was 7 months old. Sally co-owns a company which manufactures and imports high quality baby/toddler products called Dizzy Dots. Visit their website here
You are not alone if you dread dinner time in your household. This is in addition to the general mayhem of trying to prevent the dog from getting the best bits (he knows just where to sit!), to trying to keep the bowl upright on the table.
Toddlers are meant to be picky eaters! Developmentally, they need less food in year 2 as their growth slows down. Sitting down for a meal requires focused attention that even some adults struggle with. They have woken up to the fact that they can make decisions, and have learned the word “no”.
Use creative tactics, and if you have a child that doesn’t eat very much, then every bite counts. Eating a bag of chips will affect how much he eats of the good stuff. Secondly, giving in to your child when you would rather he had eaten an apple, gives him the message that he can push you each time. So, he just says “no” to every healthy alternative until he finally gets what he wants.
2. Drawing pictures: Use a plastic table cloth and allow your toddler to use his yogurt as paint whilst you spoon food into his mouth.
3. Change the environment : Avoid the high chair by taking a toy truck into the garden and get your toddler to drive it to each depot, loading a meatball at each point.
4. Reduce the juice : If you are giving your child juice with his or her meal, then cut it back. In fact, get rid of the sippy, non-spill cups with teats at mealtimes and stick to an open cup. The motion of drinking properly will also help strengthen your child’s jaw for chewing and speech development.
5 Your child won’t starve himself : If you say “no” to the one thing he wants to eat (like ice-cream) & move on to bath time, it won’t take him long to work out that if he doesn’t eat it, he doesn’t get fed.
6. Expect the unexpected : Toddlers need between 1,000 and 1,300 (good) calories a day, but they won’t eat this in evenly spread chunks. Aim for a nutritionally-balanced week, not a balanced day.
7. Offer a nibble tray: Put bit-sized portions of colourful food, such as thinly sliced apple or halved grapes, avocado pieces, carrot swords, cheese building blocks, egg canoes etc. so he can snack regularly. When a toddler doesn’t eat for long periods, it messes up his sugar levels and makes him grumpy, resulting in bad behaviour.
8. Loading: Putting nutritious, familiar favourites on top of new and less-desirable foods like building blocks is a way to broaden what he will eat.
9. Drink it: Blend a smoothie so he gets the nutrients without realizing it.
10 Respect tiny tummies : A young child’s stomach is the the size of his fist. So dole out small portions at first and refill on request.
11. Child-sized tables: Children are likely to sit and eat longer at a child-size table and chair where their feet touch the ground.
12. Let them cook: Children are more likely to eat their own creations, so, when appropriate, let your child help prepare the food.
The most important thing is to RELAX. A healthy and happy attitude towards mealtimes is so important. Take the stress away, and you may be surprised at how easy and fun it all becomes.
by Gina Jacobson, a mom, a leo. She works for a non-profit organisation, is a procrastinator, loves sci-fi, sushi, good books and scrabble.Her blog is made up of A Bit of This a Bit of That.
The scene: Woolworths, Sandton City, Aaron is tired and cranky and being otherwise. He starts to have a small meltdown, which spirals very quickly into a full-blown Aaron* tantrum.
*An Aaron tantrum is something truly special to behold. He gets into such a state that he doesn’t know what he wants. ‘Uppy Daddy, uppy!’ Paul bends down to pick him up. ‘No uppy Daddy! NO!’ Paul puts him down. ‘Uppy!!! UPPPPPPY!’ Paul picks him up. ‘NOOOOOOO Dadddddy, NO uppy!’ Paul puts him down.
You can see where this is going?
It is not always about being picked up, it can be wanting/not wanting a bottle or a toy or the TV on.
We have learnt over the past 2 and half years that nothing, and I really mean nothing, can put an end to an Aaron tantrum except time. They usually last about 45min at which point he calms down, says sorry and asks to give and receive loves.
So, back to Woolies in Sandton.
Aaron is having an up/down tantrum and this woman walks past and quite angrily tells us to ‘Just pick the child up!’ On the other side of the row a much younger woman passed a comment that she would have smacked him by now.
I saw red! I literally felt my blood boil. If they both hadn’t moved off I would have gone and confronted them. I also started thinking maybe we were missing something; maybe there was a way for us to stop the tantrum in its tracks.
What a cheek! The older women that told us to pick him up either has no children or her children are grown and she has forgotten about tantrums. Either way she should have taken two minutes to observe the fact that we were trying to pick him up but he was not having it.
As for the younger woman, I hope one day that when she has children of her own she remembers this and realizes sometimes you just have to let things happen.
Logically I know we did everything we should have for our son. He doesn’t respond to smacks, he doesn’t respond to ignoring/walking away, he doesn’t respond to hugs or being held. I know that the only way to deal with an Aaron tantrum is to let it play out.
Emotionally I am wrecked. That these two totally insignificant strangers can make me doubt myself and second-guess myself when it come to MY son. I am so mad that they can make me feel that way!
As an aside, there were two very lovely ladies there, one in the queue with us who was so sweet and understanding and a lady that stopped to see if we needed any help and to commiserate with us. She told us that she knew how we felt, she had been there and we should just stay strong.
How do you deal with public tantrums?
By Gina Jacobson, a mom, a leo. She works for a non-profit organisation, is a procrastinator, loves sci-fi, sushi, good books and scrabble.Her blog is made up of A Bit of This a Bit of That.
Aaron is finally going to play school, he starts on Monday 25th January. I am nervous and excited for him.
We keep mentioning that he is going to school and what a big boy he is. We tell him that he is going to draw and paint and play on the jungle gym and read stories and play with the other children and make things for mommy and daddy.
I think he is excited to do these things even though he doesn’t really know what we are talking about.
The other big change we are going to have this year is moving into a big boy bed. Aaron is literally, a big boy, he is very tall and he is rapidly out growing the cot. My question is, how do we transition him to the bed?
Again, we mention to him that he is going to have a big bed like mommy and daddy. But does he really understand? Also, Im worried about him not staying in his bed. How do we get him to stay there, even if he wakes up? I would rather he calls us and we go to him than he come to us.
The other question is, should we wait until he is settled at play school or make the move at the same time? I don’t want to overwhelm the poor kid.
How did you handle these amazing milestones in your child’s life?
It felt like any other day. My son had just turned two years old and started pre-school.
The first day of school was difficult for all of us. We spent 30 minutes before leaving him and probably phoned every hour or two on that day. All was well. We later discovered that, within 10 minutes of us leaving, he had stopped crying. Day two, he got into trouble. Threw sand in another child’s face. Sat in the naughty corner. He still throws things at his parents though. Day 3, actually naps during nap time. Then we had to keep him home for a week. The usual. Ear infection. Cold. Swine flu scare.
It was his second day back after school after the week off and, as I mentioned before, it felt like any other day. I dropped him off to fewer tears and went about my day. He was now on full days so I picked him up at about 4pm and we headed home. As we drove in the gate, he started grumbling. Wanted the remote to open the gate. We got out of the car and he wanted to stay outside the yard. We got into the yard and he wanted to be ‘ousite’ yet followed me into the house. By now, the grumbling was a fake cry and then it happened….. the screaming. No warning. No nothing. From ‘daddee ousite’ to the kind of scream one hears outside an abattoir. I rush to him thinking he’s hurt himself or something, he pushes me away, lies on the ground kicking his legs and keeps on screaming.
I’m a patient man. Really, I am. I am understanding. When he cries, I try to determine what is wrong. I try to comfort. I try to be a good, loving father. I don’t shout. I talk. I maintained that image for the first 30 minutes. I tried to give him juice. I talked to him. I asked what was wrong. I couldn’t think straight anymore. I put on the telly, but the screams got louder, drowning out the telly. I put on music. He likes music. Loves singing and dancing. The screams weren’t even in tune. I shouted at him. Told him to stop it. Opened the front door and told him to go play outside. The screams echoed through the house and reverberated through the neighbourhood. Eventually, I ignored him. Twenty minutes after having broken the one hour mark, he just stopped. Five minutes after that. Smiling and laughing, telling me stories.
For a week, that became the routine. Every day, after school though, thank the heavens, they only ran for about 30 minutes. Then one day I put him in his room and left him there and the consistent tantrums after school stopped. Now they just come any old time.
I finally discovered why they call them the terrible twos. I have heard all the theories. I have tried some. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. If you have more, please share. All I really have now is the hope that, one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, he’ll stop. Until then, all I’m committed to is maintaining my sanity. I love him, even if he may just drive me mad.