Toddlers, and Terrible Twos, and Tantrums...Oh My!!
Happy Wednesday Family!
I hope everyone is surviving the heat wave that made it's grand entrance over the weekend. I hear popsicles help...;)! As your littles continue to grow and develop, I'm sure tantrums are at an all time high. They are close to or have reached the era of the "Terrible Twos"...dun dun dun *ominous music*. What does that mean exactly? They are navigating through finding their voices, learning how to communicate effectively, and seeking independence. Of course, because they are learning, the screaming and the crying is normally the first part of the trial and error process. They are breeching the gap between baby and toddler. I'm going to share with you some tips, tricks, breathing techniques, and snacks that may ease tantrums.
First and foremost, teaching your little "how to communicate" is the best place to start. I often find it difficult even as an adult to effectively communicate the way I'm feeling. So, I can only imagine how difficult it must be when you are lacking the words to express what you're feeling. It may help to first isolate the kind of emotion the tantrum is sparking from? Is it from Sadness? Anger? Exhaustion? Hunger? Disappointment? Etc? Each of these different emotions may manifest differently in the body. Try talking to your little about where they feel the emotion in their body. Let's say your little is angry and the anger lives in their ears, belly, and legs. Ask your little to describe the way the anger feels in each of these places. Maybe their ears feel tingly or hot? Maybe their belly feels gurgling and unsettled? Maybe their legs feel tight and tired. Sometimes when a tantrum prolongs, these feelings can linger and get worse. Your little may continue to cry and scream because the "pain" of these feelings is confusing and maybe even scary or too much to handle. Talking about those feelings before a full blown tantrum, may help to curb or calm one down in the future. Also, if your little has an understanding of these feelings, that may aid them in communicating about them further.
Identifying Triggers: Where is this coming from? What might have started it?
Validating Emotions: Expressing to your little that you can see and understand why they are upset and talking through that with them.
Distraction: Sometimes getting their mind focused on something else is the best and most effective way. Toddlers can fixate on things and often just changing scenery or handing them something else will grab their focus.
Hugs: Your little may feel isolated in their emotional confusion. Physical touch can feel safe and secure. Sometimes all it takes to calm down is getting a hug.
Walk Away: This may seem really hard but sometimes we just need to be left alone to get over something. A good cry can often be cathartic for anyone. So, maybe your little just needs to cry it out. Walking away will show that you are staying strong and calm, and not backing down or giving into the tantrum. This may also teach your little that talking and expressing their feelings and wants will prove far more effective than screaming and crying.
If all of the above fails, here's some sensory exercises that may help to calm your little down. We'll get some help from our friends under the sea.
Puffer Fish Puff: Fill your cheeks with air, allowing them to become big and puffy, and hold for 5 seconds.
Clam Cuddle: Criss cross your arms in front of your body. Place your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder and squeeze yourself into a tiny ball cuddling yourself like a clam.
Turtle Tongue: You know how a turtle pokes it's head out and then quickly pulls it back in? You will mimic this move with your tongue. Stick your tongue out and then quickly pull it back in.
Starfish Stretch: Lay flat on your back and stretch your arms and legs way out wide. Relax here for a while just like a beautiful starfish.
Snacks To Help Calm Moods:
Oranges/Anything With Vitamin C: Vitamin C is one of the number one aids in helping the body bounce back from stress.
Almonds: Loaded with Vitamin E, Vitamin B, Zinc, Iron, and Magnesium. All of these are shown to help combat stress, brain fatigue, and maintain a balanced mood.
Fatty Fish: Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Anchovies, Lake Trout, Herring, and Mackerel may all help prevent a surge in stress.
Turkey: Full of tryptophan, which releases serotonin into the brain. This release will make you feel happier and more relaxed.
Whole Grains: Contains tryptophan as well. Rich in magnesium (deficiency in magnesium can cause anxiety). They are filling and fight hunger, while creating healthy energy.
Know that a tantrum is only temporary! Soon enough your little will be talking up a storm and communicating all their needs, wants, and desires. I hope reading this brought you some peace or gave you an "ah hah" moment.
Sending Love and Light and Smiles