Does it seem like all your toddler does is fly off the handle? Do you feel overwhelmed by your toddler’s behavior? Or is your child pretty awesome, but still has these moments where you just don’t know what to do?
Here’s my top 5 tips to help calm your toddler.
Toddlers are learning about their world and asserting their independence and the easiest way for them to assert their independence is to throw a fit. So to help them navigate their world, you can help them to be in more control by giving your children some control. When you give control, they don’t need to take it by way of a tantrum. So give your child little bits of control throughout the day, and they will be more calm. Let them choose which shoes to wear to the park. Give them control over how many necklaces they want to wear. Allow them to choose their snack. Ask them which pajamas they want to wear. This will lessen the amount of time that they are battling you and will create calmness in the house.
Nature is Therapeutic. If you are feeling at the end of your rope, or if you child is losing it; head outside! Nature will raise your spirits, it will help you breathe, it will calm your nerves. Once you are outside, you will probably get some exercise and if you get some exercise you will sleep better and if you sleep better, you will be more calm. This works for your kiddos too.
Check sleep routines
On of my mantras to my children is “when I’m tired, I get pretty fussy.” They see this in action as I can be short with them when I am more tired. The same is true for my kids. If they are getting fussy, it probably means that I need to move bedtime sooner or get a nap in. If tiredness is a constant, then looking at how much sleep kids are getting and how the routines are working is a must.
Teaching calming down techniques
It’s hard to calm down if you don’t know how to do it. So, what are some techniques? The first technique is taking a deep breath. Teach this technique all the time and do it when everyone is happy and calm. When is the best time to do that? Right before dinner or right before bed or during a bath. Say, “Smell the roses” as you breath in deeply. Then say, “Blow out the candles” and release your breath.
Another technique is taking space or taking a break. When children are very little, just a change of scenery will be enough to calm a child down. Read a book, look outside or go to a different room. Sometimes they will need more space and will need to be alone for a little while. Also known as a “time-out”, if children are taught this technique in a calm way, it can be very effective.
I hear over and over again how parents feel bad when they get upset with their children. But getting upset isn’t a bad thing. It is totally normal. It is also a perfect time to model calming down techniques. You get upset at something. You yell. Then you say out loud “I am really upset right now and I need to find a way to calm down!!” (If you can identify your behavior, your children will learn how to do the same.) Then you say (or yell!) “I’m going to take some deep breaths right now and I hope that helps!!!” or “I’m going to take 5 minutes in the bathroom or my bedroom right now and try to calm myself down!!”. Your child will be staring at you in disbelief but will be watching and learning about how to calm down.
Once you are calmer, you can talk about what worked and what didn’t. You can also apologize if you did something that you wish you hadn’t. That is also a great learning experience for children and better in the long run for children than to have parents that never make any mistakes at all.