Do you have a toddler in the house? Are they an adorable cherub one minute, terrifying gremlin the next? We’ve all been there!
The good news is that the toddler beast can be tamed and you don’t have to lose your mind in the meantime!
It’s tricky to calm your toddler when they are mid-meltdown or even just being a little hyperactive. The important thing to remember is that different things will work for different tots in different situations. Conquering the one who thinks they own you and your household is all about trial and error! Find what works for YOU.
Here are 17 helpful toddler taming tips and tricks to try next time your tot goes from cuddly mogwai to full-on gremlin.
Distraction is key… offer another activity
If your little one is reacting in a less than desirable way, it’s time for them to stop. So if they’re playing in the kitchen cupboard with the pots and pans and it’s starting to sound like a heavy metal band, get them to play with their toys in their bedroom instead. Crayon drawing moving from the paper to the walls? Ditto again. Distraction not only shifts their attention, but hopefully also changes their mood.
Food glorious food!
This is an easy one. Nothing makes a toddler stop making noise and calm down quicker than offering a favourite snack. Of course, this won’t work so well if their preferred treat is a bag of lollies rather than a bowl of strawberries!
Talk calmly at their level
Get down on your knees to their level, gently place your hands on their shoulders and talk calmly to the little out-of-control one. Passing on calm energy can help return them to the little angel that you know and love. Which brings us to our next important point…
Important: Stay calm yourself
This is something which sounds obvious, but we all know how hard it is to do! When your tot is running around the house like a maniac and making noise to rival a football crowd, you want nothing more than to yell at them to stop! More often than not, getting yelly only make matters worse. Children feed off your energy, so it is important that you stay calm if you want your child to calm down. So self-control is the key here, ladies!
Give them a cuddle
Whether they’re just being a bit hyper or downright devilish, a calm and soothing hug will help. You may not feel like hugging them if they have just torn the house down or broken a precious belonging, but sometimes toddlers get frightened by their own feelings. A hug won’t fix your favourite vase, but it can fix a frazzled toddler in about five seconds flat.
Change their environment
Sometimes children can be overwhelmed by their environment and that can cause them to misbehave. For example, my son and Woolworths don’t mix! There is way too much going on in there with too many bright colours, too many people and too many things to grab. Best thing to do? Remove him from Woolworths! Keep track of what places make your child react badly and work around them. In the case of shopping, grocery shopping online is a mummy’s saviour!
Get serious… call the other parent
What? No! Don’t call Daddy! That’s a terrifying idea for little ones! For some strange reason, having the other parent know they are misbehaving is a hell of a lot scarier than just one!
Bring in the Facetime filters
How awesome is Facetime?! It’s like having visitors over to distract your children without having to serve cups of tea! Tip: If you video call someone using Facebook, use the fun filters! Not only is your little one excited about seeing the person on the other end, they love the fact they can look like a puppy dog while they chat
Don’t underestimate the power of YouTube
So this one depends on what you think about screen time for children. If you don’t mind your children watching some ABC4Kids or a bit of Kids YouTube, now is the time to do it! Get that remote or iPad and let them be entranced for a few minutes (or an hour) so you can get some peace!
Turn on some soothing music
This is not the time to find out whether your child is a Metallica fan. Trust me, that won’t calm them down. However, calm music with a steady rhythm can work magic. So if you have any music you use for meditation or yoga, turn it on! The music will calm their senses and bring them down to a state of control.
Pick up a book and have story time
One of our favourite toddler taming tips, reading does nothing but amazing things for your children. When they are worked up, bring out their favourite book, sit them down on your knee or cuddle up on the couch and read to them. They will become lost in the world of the story with its pictures.
Plan forward… hide old toys!
So the trick here is when they receive new toys at birthdays or Christmas, stash some at the top of your wardrobe. When they are bored and you sense a destructo-mode brewing, bring out those elusive toys and voila!! New toys to keep them occupied without having to dish out the cash!
Take a leisurely drive
Nothing calms down children more than strapping them into their car seat and taking them on a drive to… nowhere! It’s heaven for parents. All you need to do is concentrate on the road and have some peace and quiet! Kids actually do love the car too. There is so much to look at outside the window. And if you are lucky, it might even be nap time! Note, this works best when there is only one child for obvious reasons.
… Or a walk
If you don’t have a car or can’t drive, taking your tot for a walk in their stroller will have mostly the same effect. Going for a leisurely stroll will give you a break from running around after them. Fresh air is always a wonderful thing, as is exercise! And again… if a nap happens to take place, even better!
Waste some of that energy!
Sometimes toddlers just need to run wild, but do it the smart way. Let them run wild outside. If you have a backyard, let them loose! If not, a fenced park can do the job. Eventually they will exhaust themselves and feel they HAVE to have a rest. #Win!
Give them a taste of their own medicine!
This is some great advice from the amazing Amy Poehler in her book “Yes Please”. Your little monster throws a tantrum? Throw yourself on the floor and throw a tantrum right back! Rant! Rave! Scream! Throw your arms in the air! It will confuse the hell out of your child! While it may not be the most effective way to keep them calm for more than a few seconds, it’s a lot of fun! Not to mention hilarious to see the look on your child’s face!
And finally… if all else fails, just walk away.
This is your last resort. Sometimes if your little one is at home and not hurting themselves or anyone else, it is worth just letting them go. Don’t get too stressed if you can’t fix the situation. Sometimes they just need to let it out. The moment you stop worrying so much about getting your toddler to calm down, they often just miraculously do it!
Want more toddler taming tips? Make sure to read our previous article about the life lessons you can learn from toddler tantrums.
(top image via Flickr)