Our toddler is approaching his terrible twos and we are reminded on a daily basis of this. I say ‘we’, he’s lucky he can escape the ‘stop, drop and roll’ accompanied by a fit of screaming, because he’s at work. I try to be consistent with discipline, following the invisible rules we seem to have invented. But who am I kidding? Sometimes I like an easy life and there are certain ways I know will bring his roar back down to silence. Ah bliss!
- Both of my children drop things. Accidentally but mainly on purpose. It’s a game of who gives in first. For me it’s not a game and more of a question to who will give up and LOSE IT first. Usually me. The dropped item also usually ends up in the bin. To keep the calm with your children, just pick it up. Every time. Every. Single. Time. This way they will stay happy and satisfied knowing you’ll do it. You’ll do it every single time, pick up their cup of water, that’s also now leaked all over the floor. It is a game to them, but not for us.
- Yes! I am guilty of feeding a tantrum. If we’re in Tesco and Mason decides he wants a bag of apples (he loves apples, one bite and then he throws it away!) I pick up a bag of apples and give him one. My argument is yes I’ve just ‘given in’ but apples are healthy. Healthy and quiet child means happy mummy. I’m also guilty of bribing Mason with biscuits to GET DOWN from the table and not freak out because MIA IS ASLEEP. Food in any form is a great way of busting a tantrum, my son will stop abruptly mid-scream once something tasty is in his hand.
- Milk. Too much milk is bad. Not enough milk is bad. Milk to stop a tantrum, GOOD. We use this method in the evening when he suddenly channels his inner psycho. Normally tiredness. Milk keeps him calm and quiet. Brilliant for wind down time before bed.
- I’m reading or sending a message on my phone and this looks fun and interesting to Mason. He does his usual grunt signalling he wants. No needs my phone. I lock my phone and hand it over to him. A locked phone just isn’t good enough he wants access to everything. Fine. Here’s my unlocked phone, what harm can he do? LOTS. He’s changed the language on my phone (I didn’t even know how to do that), he’s called Darren and left him a voicemail of me babbling to him in the background, he’s taken numerous entertaining selfies and also managed to tweet them. WORTH IT. He didn’t have a tantrum could possibly advance into a job in tech?
- His first demands in the day is usually Peppa. I know every word, from every episode and it’s even taught Mason a few new words. I think you get the gist of how often we watch it. Still it’s in high demand in our house from our toddler. I can double up on the benefits of this, preventing my child taking all his clothes off and peeing on the floor in protest and I get to put a load of washing on. Result.
- This novelty is starting to wear off on the toddler but works amazingly for the baby. Bubbles. He still sometimes gets interested in the bubbles themselves but is more interested in getting the pot off me and doing it himself. He can’t do it himself. I know because I’ve slipped on what he’s spilt. Mia on the other hand loves the burst the bubbles, waving her chunky little arms around. So, bubbles is a great distraction.
- At the park the swing is slowly turning into my nemesis. The only thing Mason will entertain doing at the park now is the swing. He will gladly sit on the swing for an hour, or more! Well, dinner is in half an hour and I need to cook it. He won’t budge from the seat with that stupid bar he’s able to wrap his legs around. He starts to scream and I’m in full view of nearby homes and every person in the park. OK. Stay on the swing, who needs dinner anyway? Being in view of everyone nearby looking to see if you give in to your toddler, you’ll need to style it out so no-one knows you’ve given in. Put on a false smile and chuckle to yourself, try not to look too crazy when you do this. The stares will be for other reasons then.
- Poor Darren falls into the trap of ‘carry me’ every time we go out. Mason INSISTS on walking and we’re happy for him to exercise his legs but after seconds of walking, he’s bored. He wants to be carried. I am consistent with ‘no I’m not carrying you’ while I’m pushing the buggy, holding the bag and shopping. Darren however, always gives in. Then moans about carrying him. But the boy isn’t having a tantrum.
If all else fails just start thinking of your favourite song, while you’re bopping your head and pretending he’s not really yours! Do what you need to do, I will never judge any mum that takes an easier route occasionally for an easier life. It’s hard! It doesn’t make you a bad mum. Plus if you’re out and you’ve accepted this tantrum just needs to ride itself out, us mums have been hard-wired to look perfectly calm and composed (even though inside we are just dying) outside we aren’t embarrassed. But God help anyone who comments on it!