Do you have a strong willed toddler like we do? Up until Sydney was seven months old, she would fuss briefly when she didn’t get her way, but was easily distracted. Then suddenly we experienced her first real temper tantrum – over wanting a popsicle. She was tired, and probably hungry, and started to fuss while we were fixing dinner. It escalated from fussing to a screaming fit when we tried to get her to sit down and have dinner. We let her know that once she ate with us, she could have a popsicle and go outside, but instead she decided to hold onto the freezer door, jump up and down and cry hysterically.
We learned many lessons in that 15 minutes:
- Ignoring the tantrum didn’t help at all, but sitting down beside her didn’t seem to help either, nor did carrying her back over to the table to try to get her to eat.
- Letting her know that we understood exactly what she wanted did not make her feel any better about the situation.
- She can work herself up so much that she throws up (though it appeared to be mostly phlegm).
- I wish we’d never let her try a popsicle, or a piece of candy, or a cashew for that matter (she always wants one, but then spits chunks of it out all over the floor), or anything else she pitched a fit over, even though I know that’s only a temporary solution.
- And most importantly, she needs to be taken far away from whatever she’s coveting.
As soon as we finished with dinner, Chris took her outside (without a popsicle needless to say), and although she fussed a bit when she came back in, she did not touch the freezer again and was happy as can be by bath time.
Funny how much easier it is for kids to forget the tirades than it is for their parents.
Lessons Learned Recap: Tantrums will happen. All you can do is ride out the storm and figure out the best approach to shorten their duration.