There’s a reason why toddler tantrums are the stuff of legend. Your child might have been an angel since birth, but at some stage the ‘terrible twos’ will strike. If you’re lucky, they won’t last long – if not, your child might act out for quite some time. Either way, you’re likely to feel like tearing your hair out – something Sue, an office manager from Cardiff, can relate to.
“Help – I think my daughter is about to hit the ‘terrible twos’! She’s always been the sweetest little girl, but in the past few weeks she’s started to sulk and throw a hissy fit at the slightest thing. This morning in the store, because I wouldn’t buy her some sweets, she lay on the floor and screamed. (I was so embarrassed.) She’s NEVER done anything like that before! Friends have been teasing me about toddler tantrums since her second birthday a few months ago…what do I do?”
Jessica Baxter – Real Home Truths
Jessica is an experienced writer and editor living in Cape Town, South Africa, where her two toddlers provide all the inspiration she needs for her blog. She enjoys sharing her no-filter views and experiences of motherhood – both the mess and the magic. You can read more at Real Home Truths or find her on Instagram as @realhometruths.
You have to remember that you’re the stronger one and stand your ground, says Jessica – and remember that in public, you’ll have the sympathy of those have already been there.
“I’m afraid there’s no escaping it – it starts with the terrible twos then heads straight into the f***ing fours! On a serious note, the best thing to do is to strategize. You and your partner need to be on the same page when it comes to handling your daughter’s tantrums. You’ll be tempted to give in and give up, but don’t. It’s a battle of wills – whose is stronger, yours or your two-year-old’s? My money is on you.
“When she has a tantrum at home, make sure you show a united front. Walk away and leave her to cry it out in her room. Let her know she can come out when she’s calmed down. When she performs in public, try not to give her a reaction. The more panicked you become, the more she’ll act up in the hope she’ll win.
“Try to stay calm and reason with her. Apologise to those around you. Remember that a little humor goes a long way. I find that even though we get embarrassed, most of the people in the shop have been there themselves and can understand and empathize. If it gets out of control, simply put down your shopping basket, pick her up, and walk out.”
Katie & Christina – The Baileys
Katie and Christina are a girl-meets-girl love story. After falling in love and getting married, they have two daughters through reciprocal IVF. They love to travel and want their girls to see as much of the world as possible. You can follow their adventures on Instagram at @babybaileymamadrama and YouTube.
Katie and Christina know exactly what Sue is going through and have two top tips – empathy and distraction.
“We could literally write a book in answer to this question, but we’ll try and keep it short. When our daughter entered the terrible twos, we found that empathizing with her and letting her know she was being heard and understood went a long way.
“It can be something as simple as: ‘It can be difficult when you don’t get candy at the store.’ Even if whatever the tantrum is about sounds silly, let her know you understand why she’s upset. Kids at that age don’t know how to handle their emotions so it’s important you stay calm and help them work through it.
“The other tactic we used was distraction. Toddlers have a very short attention span, so it’s often fairly easy. Have an idea ready that is productive and positive before you go into a store or another public place. An example might be: ‘Would you like to help me pick out some apples and put them in the bag?’”
Kimberly Stanfel – Behind the Mom Jeans
Kimberly is a seasoned marketing professional who turned a few of her ‘curve balls’ in life into something positive by creating her platform, Behind the Mom Jeans. A blog that speaks to the everyday truths of being a new mom, wife and human being. You can read more at Behind the mom jeans or find her on Instagram as @behindmomjeans.
Toddler tantrums is something Kim is currently experiencing in her own family, so she’s also working out the best ways to navigate them. Keeping her cool seems to help the most.
“Here we come, toddler years! Even through the longest tantrums, I do my best to stay calm. I’ve noticed that the quicker I am to raise my voice or get visibly frustrated, the longer my daughter continues to scream. If I’m not making a big deal about it, she notices and starts to calm down faster.”
Danielle – My Life with Littles
A wife and mother to two children, Isabella and Henley, Danielle is chronicling her journey on Instagram. She’s passionate about raising awareness of mental health as well as covering all things mum and baby related. You can find her at @danielle_andlittles.
One thing Danielle learned was that it’s impossible to reason with a toddler who’s worked up – so calming them down is key.
“I had exactly this with my daughter when she hit two. I quickly came to realise that you can’t reason with them when they are behaving like that. I used to sit her in a quiet place and tell her I wouldn’t speak with her until she had calmed down.
“She’d keep trying to leave where I’d sat her, but I’d just keep putting her back and not speaking to her until she finally calmed down. Talking to her only ever made the situation worse. Also, please take heart from knowing this is just a phase – it will get better!”