Real Talk: Threenagers

Alright you guys, I’m putting it out there – I am a yeller.
I try not to be, but when my 3 year old is onto his 5th meltdown/tantrum by 9am – I turn into a yelling mum, a time-out mum and a stressed out mum.

We have spoken about this previously here on TheMakeupMumma – And like I said then, I am not proud of this side of my mum-life; But hey, we’re all human and we all have areas of improvement we need to work on.

As of late, the tantrums have definitely escalated – So I figured I would try to seek some other ways to deal with my little boy who just loves to throw tantrums when he hears the word ‘NO’.

Now I know that his tantrums are a result of his own frustration; He can’t find the words or get his point across, he doesn’t like that he isn’t getting what he wants and his only known reaction for this is to cry and jump up & down and hope for a reaction – Which he gets from me when I yell (so I am in no way helping myself here).

But I want to learn some ways to help him, to either better communicate his wants/needs to me and to also understand that he cannot always get what he wants when he wants it, and to also teach me some skills on keeping my cool, and being clear on what is/isn’t going to happen – and maybe even a way to negotiate with him so he doesn’t feel like I’m saying ‘NO’ all the time.

So onto Google I went, I read forums, mum groups, psychologist papers etc to try and learn/discover new techniques to handle the threenager that has recently taken up residence in my home.

Here are my favourite 5 tips for avoiding tantrums:

  1. Offer Minor Choices
    Like “Do you want orange juice or apple juice?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth before or after taking a bath?” 
    Ultimately they will feel as though it’s their decision even though you have limited them to only things you are willing to give them.
  2. Keep off-limit items out of sight 
    Assisting with the unwarranted tantrums of seeing that lolly jar on the bench and you saying ‘yes’ sometimes and ‘no’ sometimes when they request it, causing confusion – Out of sight, hopefully out of mind.
  3. Reduce Stress
    Tired or hungry kids are not going to be good negotiators – Always consider these factors before dragging them to the grocery store, or to complete errands.
    Tired, hungry or overstimulated kids are way more likely to throw tantrums.
  4. Distract Distract Distract
    The art of distraction is a powerful thing; and we know our kids well. So when we see them heading towards a dangerous activity, to play with something they aren’t allowed or that they’re about to throw something – Calmly say ‘No’ and redirect them onto something they are allowed to do.
  5. Choose Your Battles
    Is what they are requesting of you really outrageous? Will that one lolly spoil their dinner? Will one more go on the slide/swings ruin the rest of your afternoon?
    Choose your battles wisely – Is the tantrum worth that one little thing?

And here are my favourite 5 tips for keeping your cool:

  1. Stay calm (or pretend to!).
    Take a moment for yourself if you need to. If you get angry, it’ll make the situation harder for both you and your child. If you need to speak at all, keep your voice calm and level, and act deliberately and slowly.
  2. Acknowledge your child’s difficult feelings.
    For example, ‘It’s very upsetting when your ice-cream falls out of the cone, isn’t it?’. This can help prevent behaviour getting more out of control and gives your child a chance to reset emotions.
  3. Wait out the tantrum.
    Stay close to your child so they knows you’re there. But don’t try to reason with them or distract them. It’s too late once a tantrum has started.
  4. Take charge when you need to.
    If the tantrum happens because your child wants something, don’t just give them what they wants. If your child doesn’t want to do something, use your judgment.
    For example, if your child doesn’t want to get out of the bath, it might be safer to pull out the plug than to lift him out as they’ll just flail around and kick/punch etc.
  5. Be consistent and calm in your approach.
    If you sometimes give your child what they want when they have tantrums and you sometimes don’t, the problem could get worse.

Now obviously all these things are incredible pieces of advice, in theory. And we would all love to say we are these versions of ourselves at all times – But let’s be honest, we aren’t.
I am going to try to the best of my ability to take on board all these tips for handling my little man’s melt-downs; and it’s not always going to work, and sometimes I will yell.

But I’m going to try my hardest to utilise a more chill-calm approach to his tantrums, and I will keep ya’ll posted on how that goes 😐

And of course, we have to end on a happy-ish note – So here are my baby’s that I love with all my heart, but also they drive me insane <3

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