Skip to main content

Tantrums and Transitions and Other Big Feelings

So I've been reading about tantrums, now that Little L is in the thick of being a terror-in-the-making.  She has mastered the whine, and isn't afraid to demonstrate her skills whenever she doesn't quite get what she wants.

Little kids are not good with transitions.  That is, unless they initiate it, they aren't good with changing activities abruptly.  They need time to ease out of one thing and into another.  And when grown-ups try to impose a quick change (e.g. from playing to going to bed, from reading to diaper changing), that's usually when a meltdown or tantrum occurs. At least, it is for us.

So now I've adopted some strategies, half stolen from the Internets and half from my own experience as an elementary teacher, to help my toddler switch from activity 1 to activity 2.

The first is, I tell her a few minutes ahead of time that we will be doing something different in X minutes.  Yeah, I know she has no concept of time...yet.  But still, it's a verbal "warning" to get her primed.

Then, when it's time, I tell Little L that I'm going to count to 5 and then we are going to do ___.  I start slow counting, using my fingers so that she can see.  After I've reached 5, she usually comes into my arms without much of a struggle, and we go to our next activity.

Whenever possible, we also offer her some choice, like, "Do you want to take your stroller or the bike?" when we have to go out, or "Which outfit would you like to wear?" before bath time.  A sense of control, however small or illusory, helps Little L feel like she is calling the shots and not subject to the whims of all the grown-ups in her world.

Once she is older, we plan to use a visual "schedule," AKA "shape of the day."  Using little velcro cards with pictures and words, I will put together the day's schedule so that she knows what is happening each day, and in which order.  Hopefully, this will mitigate anxieties and manage expectations.

In other news, Little L is still biting and pinching.  I'm told that this is normal and a way for her to express big feelings that she doesn't yet have words for.  In order to reduce the frequency of my being abused (since I am usually the lucky recipient of the bites and squeezes), I've been trying to empathetically give names to her feelings (or what I perceive are her emotions at that moment).  I am also doling out extra hugs and cuddles whenever she acts out this way.  

Some may say I'm spoiling her and harming her by not disciplining, but I say, "F*ck that noise! I'll do it my way, thankyouverymuch."  Actually, I don't say that, I just think it. What I do say is that experts agree that my baby isn't deliberately trying to hurt me because she's vindictive or manipulative or sadistic; she is just too young to have the skills to cope with "big feelings" like anxiety or jealousy or frustration or fear or disappointment.  This is her coping strategy until she can use her words and other ways to express and alleviate these emotions.  Until then, I just need to be compassionate and empathetic, and not punitive. 

What other tips and tricks and advice do you seasoned parents have for this newbie? I'm interested in hearing how you helped your kids navigate the rough waters of toddlerhood!

Comments

This is GOLD! I count down from 10 when Ollie is freaking out and usually by 5 he is calmer. I also love that you talk to her about what is coming and give choices. we do the same, but no a methodical. I plan to start that. and the velcro this is what we are doing today is AWESOME!! That is your brilliant inner teacher at work.

Popular posts from this blog

Gone with the FLLO - Traveling with the Clek FLLO

In previous posts, I've already detailed the awesomeness of Clek's FLLO seat, so no need for redundancy here. The true test of its greatness lies in how well it travels, since it is meant to be a "compact" and more portable version of the gargantuan FOONF.

Now, to be clear, we purchased a Clek WEELEE bag to transport our car seat on our flight to and from Maui, *and* we checked our car seat with our airline, which I know is a big CPS Tech no-no. They argue that any car seat that has been checked is as good as crashed, because the potential rough handling of the seat by the carrier compromises its integrity and could damage it internally. My experience (now that I've done it) is this:

a) The Weelee bag is very well padded and sturdy. Once I had the seat properly placed inside the bag, I felt that it was as good as any seat in a styrofoam-packaged box. The bonus, of course, is that unlike a box, the Weelee has a telescopic handle and deeply-grooved, rugged wheels, …

Outgrow. Outlast. - The Finale of Our BF Journey

To be completely honest, I almost didn't write this post. While I'm usually fairly open about my opinions and parenting choices, I've held this one pretty close to the vest in recent years, because it is a more controversial - and personal- decision than most others. Sadly, it is one that many Western mothers are also unfairly judged for, despite it being completely natural in many other parts of our world.

The choice: full-term, aka "extended," breastfeeding. Little L and I chose to continue our nursing journey beyond age 2, and 3, and even 4. In fact, we only weaned a couple of weeks ago. We had already stopped nursing in public and nursing on demand several years earlier, but it was only recently that Little L was ready to completely wean from her nighttime and early morning sessions; she had finally outgrown her need to drink from my milk. The most clear signs of this were her growing desire for "privacy" and alone time, and her "nye-nye"

An Eyeliner Switcheroo

For the past several years, I've been a very loyal Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Eye Liner fan. I mean, I use the stuff every single day, and I like to do dramatic wings on my eyes, so I need a quality eyeliner that is high pigment, won't smear, and has an amazing fine-tipped brush that will let me draw my eyeliner wings to a very long, dramatic tip. My standards are exacting when it comes to liquid liner. 

That said, my wallet hates me for it. Those amazing liners cost $30 a pop, and they only last a couple of months at the rate that I use them. 
So, as any responsible adult tries to do, I've attempted to save money and find a cheaper alternative. I've used all sorts of liners sent by IPSY, or bought at my local drugstore. Unfortunately, every attempt I've made has resulted in great regret. The brush applicator was too wide or too short. The eyeliner smudged too easily. The pigment wasn't dark enough. You get the idea.
However, I think I've finally found m…