I have a child who can throw a fit the size of Alaska over a problem the size of Rhode Island. Sometimes I don't even know what the problem is, and the tantrum has begun.
There's no reasoning with an unreasonable child.
👆🏻 That👆🏻 took me a minute to figure out, because my oldest child wasn't very tantrum-prone, and has always seemed to listen to reason.
And so, when my daughter starts in on one of her rages, I first have to remind myself that I won't be able to talk her down with conversation of any kind. The conversation can come later, but first I just need to help her self-regulate.
I LOVE me some Daniel Tiger pro tips, but "Take a deep breath and count to 4" just doesn't work with this child! But I'll tell you what does...
A simple activity that promotes mindfulness. Something that uses fine motor skills and takes a bit of concentration. As your child engages with these types of activities, their breathing naturally regulates, and their mind and body are able to come back to center.
One day, my daughter started in on one of her fits. She was screaming and screaming and stomping around and screaming some more. And as calm as I stayed, I could NOT get her to calm down. And in a flash I remembered this tip I'd recently seen on instagram - and I just tried it. The tip was to just get out a simple activity and start doing it.
So, I got out some paper and drew a few hearts on it. Then I grabbed some watercolor brush markers and just started smashing the brush tips onto the paper inside of the heart shapes. When my daughter noticed, she came over and wanted to know what I was doing - I said I was making "smash dots." It took her ONE SECOND to forget all about her tantrum and say "Can I do it?"
So, from one mom to another, I just wanted to pass along the best tantrum-ending advice I ever found. I hope it works for you, too!
Here are a few ideas for simple fine-motor/re-centering activities you might try when it's time to end a tantrum in it's tracks at your house:
- Create "smash dot" art (the water color markers we used are these ones)
- Thread Cheerios or Fruit Loops onto a piece of yarn or kabob skewer
- Cut some straws into "beads" and slide them onto pipe cleaners
- Create a "bridge" of masking tape from one surface to another with the sticky side up, and balance small items on it (pompoms, coins, LEGOs, etc.)
You've got this, Mama!