|FAMILY|stopping the strops | LarabeeUK

|FAMILY|stopping the strops

It's no secret that we're going through some rather challenging temper tantrums at the moment, before we left for our weeks break at Bluestone they had really come to a head which prompted my post 10 great reasons to throw a wobbly.  We were having at least one a day.

Before we left I saw an article going round Facebook called 'well done, you broke your child' reading this article broke my heart, and whilst by no means could we ever be compared to the individuals in this article, it did make me stop and consider the bigger picture.  We are fortunate enough to have a bright 'spirited' child, he has his own opinions, he's independent and most of the time, yes he's a bit of a smart arse, questioning everything, so I asked myself, why are we trying to suppress that? The answer was that I didn't really know, to get out the door quicker, so we could have a few minutes peace, so other people didn't judge, there were many small reasons but no real reason, like he was going to endanger himself or it would make him ill or it would restrict his development.

Did it really matter if T wore what he wanted, not what I put out? Or if he had an extra 5 minutes at the park? Or that he wanted another apple after already eating 2?  Or that he wants to spread his own butter? The answer most times is no, it doesn't really matter, it was just us getting cross because he wouldn't do 'as he's told' or him going into meltdown for something really silly.  Most of the time we say no because it takes longer for him to do these things instead of us, but throw a tantrum into the mix and it takes even longer!

So whilst we were away we tried a few new methods to try and stop the strops which we are continuing and so far we've only had 2 tantrums in the last 2 weeks.

1. Keep T busy, a lot of his strops occur when he has to have the iPad or TV etc switched off, we've now found that setting a boundary and an alarm for when the device needs to be switched off is working better.

2. Turn a potential strop into a game, in Bluestone T was a little monkey when it came to walking up to the adventure centre, swimming pool and car park, once or twice a strop was averted by one of us carrying him.  Then on the last day (grrrrr) a miracle happened.  I inadvertently created a game called 'chase the superhero' where I was the joker, T batman and The Hubs Robin, I had to chase them up the hill whilst avoiding their laser rays (or something similar!) this worked a treat, I don't even think that he noticed he was going up the hill!  This little diversion tactic worked so well!

3. Another issue area was when T was asked to come out of the pool after over 2 hours in there, this resulted in the mother of all tantrums lasting well over an hour.  The next time we saw this on the cards we set some boundaries again, we will stay in the adventure centre for half an hour (set a timer) and then if you come out with no fuss you can come again.  If you whinge and cry we will still go back to the lodge but you won't get to come tomorrow.  This actually worked!  We didn't even need to carry this one through, but I know that we would have had to.  So I'm sure to only use a threat that I will carry out.  We continued to use this each day and it worked every time.

4. Spend time with T, this week going back to nursery brought on some hissy fits, although he loves nursery and seeing his friends, sometimes being with his Mummy and Daddy is more of a pull.  Tuesday we suffered with this more than ever with a good half hour tantrum and not wanting to go, to try and get through this one, The Hubs promised T that he could come to our work, which he loves to do, so I'm taking him along to work on Friday as a reward for sorting himself out.

5. Know when to throw the towel in, some situations are just not worth the trouble, for instance does it really matter if he wears wellies to nursery or wants to wear different pants/socks/t-shirts to those you've set out.  I've been giving in to these and that's really preventing the meltdown and making us both far happier in the mornings.

6. Tiredness, we cut T's naps at Christmas in the hope of him sleeping better through the night, well he's not really sleeping much better but he does go to bed earlier and so give us back our evenings.  Like most children (and me!) T gets really grumpy when he's tired so when he's having a lull rather than expecting him to work through it, we suggest a game or an activity or playtime and spend time with him, often he gets through the funk without any fuss, it's just a bit more attention and effort for us.

7. Cutting out sitting watching TV, the TV does not go on unless there's something we want to watch, this was quite a new thing that we have got into to, but just lately Nicelodeon has been playing in the background whilst we do our thing, this is such a distraction for T as he always wants to watch if it's on, so now it doesn't go on and he has his viewing time in a much more controlled way.

8. Allow more freestyle activities, I do a lot of craft and learning activities with T, he likes to be kept occupied and these are an ideal way we can add some variety for him, but I must remember to let him be a 3 year old, why say no to building a den for him to have his lunch in? Does it really matter that he's mixed all of his paints into a big brown muddy puddle?  Of course not, allowing him to express himself is far better for him and a big learning curve for me.  This is one area I need to work on as stupidly I get very anxious about things like this and need to let those go for the sake of my son.

9. Co-sleeping, this is actually one which The Hubs suggested, neither T or I sleep well, however, he does sleep far better in with us, so The Hubs suggested that when he does wake in the night, if he resists settling straight away, avoid the early hours tantrum by bringing him in with us, this works 100% sadly I was listening too hard to other people saying that you shouldn't co-sleep and that its a bad habit, your child needs to learn etc.  The fact is I was getting exhausted, T was getting very upset and it really wasn't good for our family.  Now, we are all getting more sleep and so things are better for us all, and at what cost?  Nothing!

10. Bedtime routine, we'd got into a great bedtime routine, but The Hubs being ill and then being at Bluestone everything has been knocked out, this is one we are really going to be concentrating on next week, having some good quality 'in-between' time then T going to bed on his own, by restricting his TV viewing it does mean that he looks forward to his 'telly time' half hour before bed, I know some people gasp in horror at children watching TV before bed, but it works for us and gives T a nice reward and reason to be on his own upstairs when he really wants to be with us.

So that's what we are trying to do to prevent meltdown situations, what do you do?

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  1. That is a great list, you are really working hard on this! I have a 3-year-old and he's started to have little tantrums, they're mainly when he's frustrated, like he can't put a train track together or something like that. I'm a pretty chilled out mum so I would say patience and guidance is my top tip for controlling tantrums. We do co-sleeping too - just want an easy life! Good luck! #toddlerapprovedtuesday Sabrina xx

  2. This is a very thorough list, I might have to take some of your ideas for my toddler! A really concise post :-)

    Helen - #binkylinky

  3. It can be so tough can't it. My twins go through phases with tantrums Luckily they don't have many, but when they do it can sometimes be hard to manage them. Most of the time I'll pick them up - even when they wriggle away because they don't want to be picked up - and I'll tickle them or do something to make them laugh. That usually works, but when they do something wrong I talk to them about why what they did was wrong and will leave them to it until they decide they're ready to come back into the same room - usually only a few minutes. Some tantrums like the ones you've mentioned, I do think, oh I should have just given them another biscuit or let them play for a bit longer, but sometimes I think we have to put our foot down so that they learn they can't always have their way. Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

  4. I definitely find trying to distract mid tantrum helps defuse the situation but it's hard especially if you've had poor sleep yourself x

  5. Some great ways to apply calmness to T's days and yours. My two throw strops and tantrums. I've managed to nip a lot of them in the bud. I always prep them as to what's coming next. Example of that was when I put shoes and coats on, they thought we were walking with reigns when in fact we were going to be travelling in the car. I now say, we are going in the buggy now, or car or walk before we leave and as I get them ready. It's such a toughie hey? It sounds to me you are doing a wonderful job. Don't be so hard on yourself. The fact you go to great lengths to make your son happy is testament to what a great mummy you are. I've used something similar to your superhero trick with a friends boy who was getting tired of walking. Soon snapped him out of it when he had a distraction and different focus. Xxx

  6. Great post - Sounds like you are doing a great job recognising when a tantrum might occur and you've got great ideas on how to prevent them. I love the timer rule for the iPad. Little J has just turned two and whilst he isn't having tantrums he is showing us that he now knows what he wants and when he wants it. Its mainly silly things like no-one can push his pram except Daddy. He has become very very clingy and when he wants Daddy if I try to take over he does freak out a little. My eldest who is now 13 has also shown some 'typical teenage' behaviour recently and I am really not looking forward to the terrible twos and teenage years Thanks for linking up to Parenting - #ToddlersAndTeens via Mummy2Monkeys

  7. Tantrums are very difficult to deal with but they grow out of them excellent list thanks for linking to the Binkylinky

  8. Great advice - we're dealing with this a bit too so I need to bookmark to reread when necessary! I love the game idea for walking though. that's a particularly tricky spot for us as he hates walking and quite frankly carrying is getting exhausting!! Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx

  9. Sometimes tantrums are just inevitable aren't they?! I love your list being prepared for a tantrum and diffusing it before it happens is a great idea. kids defiantly need boundaries and consequences for their actions, it's defiantly a learning process for children. Good luck #SundayStars

  10. I'm a big fan of countdowns before changes and letting kids know what is happening in advance so they can prepare. I also like to give choices: eg We can leave the park now and play for 10 minutes at home or we can leave in five minutes and not play. I think sometimes kids need to feel like they have a little more control.


  11. Totally agree on the picking your battles one some times I feel like I say no way to often because it'll take too long or I just can't be bothered but I'm definitely trying harder it saves a lot of battles thanks for sharing on #sundaystars

  12. Great list. Agree with everything you say and we have to use the countdown timers for the iPad of before leaving somewhere we give warning of 5 minutes, 2 mins then 1 min. Really helps with the transition and avoids meltdowns.


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