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  • 5 Simple Tips for Taming Tantrums

    I came across this quote from author L.R. Knost not long ago and it has become my mantra for calming meltdowns, tantrums and anything in between.

    “When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it is our job to share our calm not join their chaos.”

    Tantrums are a completely normal part of child development. It’s how our little ones express themselves over anything from discomfort to simply not getting what they want. But that doesn’t mean it’s not exhausting, frustrating and down right chaotic to try and diffuse them. Sometimes the response that our children need the most is the hardest to offer in the moment.

    In my experience, the most effective method for disarming a tantrum is a calming, positive approach. Here are 5 Simple Tips for Taming Tantrums that may help to deescalate meltdowns and preserve your sanity.

    1.) Remain Calm

    It is entirely true that children feed off of our emotions. If we treat a child’s tantrum with fierce anger and frustration it is possible to intensify the tantrum rather than mitigate it. Try to remove all emotion and focus on yourself, especially the guilt or embarrassment which can heighten feelings of overwhelm (remember, every parent has been there!) Your child isn’t trying to give you a tough time, they’re having a tough time.

    2.) Use Positive Language Alternatives

    Avoid the use of “no” if at all possible and try these positive language alternatives.

    3.) Try a Calming Diversion

    Does your child have a favorite book or comforting blanket? Offering these items could help console a child during a tantrum. Other tools could be a calming jar (such as these), relaxation activities such as deep breaths or yoga poses, essential oils, and songs. When the meltdown occurs in a public place without access to these tools, try removing them from the environment in which the situation began. If your child runs, throws or hits during a meltdown assess surroundings to ensure safety before approaching.

    Hugging is an excellent use of diversion, but always ask if they need a hug beforehand. Studies have shown that proprioceptive input through hugging is extremely helpful for regulating the senses and helping tame a tantrum. Something as simple as a tight squeeze can provide a sense of calm & return your child to the moment.

    4.) Observing and Learning

    Is there a pattern or trend for where these tantrums occur? Say, in the toy section at Target or when deciding on what to wear in the morning? Research indicates that events leading up to a tantrum can be critical to whether or not it actually occurs. Noticing where and when your child is likely to have a tantrum is essential in diffusing or avoiding it altogether. Maybe bypass the toys next time at the store, or offer options on outfits in the morning so your child feels in control. Another thing to keep in mind is choosing battles wisely. Ask yourself this question:

    Will this decision impact my child down the road?

    Examples: Something like, wearing a helmet on the tricycle could potentially have long term effects and is probably a battle to be fought. Forcing a child to hug a relative before they leave (and thus inducing an incident) is likely not life altering. Maybe have a conversation later about hugging and why we show affection instead of ensnaring yourself in an emotionally escalated situation.

    5.) Consistency and Not Caving

    A sure-fire way to keep the tantrums coming is to cave or give in to the tantrum. For example, if a child melts down in the candy aisle begging for a lollipop, giving her the lollipop will underline the negative behavior and reinforce it for next time. If the child is denied the lollipop repeatedly, it’s possible for them to learn that a tantrum in this particular instance will not get them what they want. Be consistent and confident with your choices as you know best for the child, not vice versa.

    Hey mama, taming tantrums can be tough! Check out our Mental Health Task List to encourage self care and preserve your sanity!

  • 6 Ways to Celebrate National Reading Month with Preschoolers

    March is National Reading Month! I know this mostly applies to grade school kids, but I truly believe it is important to instill a love for reading in our little learners, and with a few fun ideas they can appreciate National Reading Month too. Reading to young children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and teaches them kindness and empathy. One of the most beautiful parts of my day as a SAHM is laying in bed reading to my child right before he nods off to sleep. Regardless of how everything has unfolded up until that point, we end the day connected. In honor of March and our commitment to reading, we’ve come up with 6 Ways to Celebrate National Reading Month with Preschoolers for you and your littles to enjoy.

    Dr. Seuss’s Birthday

    How timely that we celebrate Dr. Seuss at the very beginning of March! Dr. Seuss’s birthday and hence, National Reading Day is March 2nd. Here are some easy ways to use food to interact with the storylines and characters in some of Seuss’s classics!

    1. Make Green Eggs and Ham using green food coloring (Green Eggs and Ham)
    2. Goldfish for snack time (One Fish Two Fish)
    3. “Hop on popcorn” for snack time (Hop on Pop)
    4. Animal Crackers for snack time (If I Ran the Zoo)
    5. Cat in the Hat fruit kabobs using strawberries and bananas on a skewer (The Cat in the Hat) For Tips Click Here!
    6. See how many apples you can stack to make a tower then consume! (10 Apples up on Top)

    Host a Book Swap

    This is a really fun way to get friends involved in the power of reading! Have your child’s playmates come over and bring their favorite reads for a book swap. Have the kids trade and barter for new books. They can read aloud to each other and converse about their favorite parts.

    Listen to an Audiobook on Librivox

    The best part about Librivox is that it is FREE! With this awesome app, you can listen to books from the children’s section on the go. Search for specific titles or browse over 50,000 audiobooks. Perfect for a long car ride or if its a busy day at home. The books are read by volunteers from around the world!

    Rearrange Bookshelf & Donate Books

    What better way to teach the value of giving and donation than cleaning out that old, dusty bookshelf. Find a school, church, library, used book store, or shelter that is accepting book donations and drop off used or old books that the kids have grown out of or no longer read. On several occasions I’ve found multiples of the same book on our shelves that I didn’t know we had! Reorganization can be a fun project as well. Help your child organize the books in some type of order. It could be alphabetical, color coded, old to new, favorites first, etc.

    Visit the Local Library

    Obviously, the local library is a glorious resource for all things reading. Liberate your kids by allowing them to peruse the children’s book section and pick out a few titles that appeal to them. They will especially enjoy the autonomy and freedom of choosing their own. You can also participate in a read aloud session hosted by the library if available. Teach your littles how to find books using the library catalog system.

    Dress Up as or Make Character Craft

    I’ve noticed that each time I introduce a new book and create a corresponding craft with my preschooler, he really connects with the material! He also loves getting into character and dressing up. Below we made hats for Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat but feel free to get creative!

    We hope you found our 6 Ways to Celebrate National Reading Month with Preschoolers inspirational! For more inspiring parent content, read our post about The Importance of Family Traditions