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How do you handle tantrums in small children?

Posted by on Oct. 26, 2013 at 3:40 PM
  • 8 Replies

Ladies, I need HELP.

I have 2 year old twin boys who have meltdowns over just about ANYTHING. The problem is, they can't communicate well yet, so we never know what's going to set them off.

My first child was so easy going. Until now, I've had no experience with tantrums, and I am DROWNING here. I have always told myself that if I had a child who threw fits, I would simply ignore them. That's what everyone says to do, and it makes sense to do it. They SHOULD NOT get attention for acting that way. I consider myself a strict parent in other aspects. I've tried to ignore them, but it never seems to stop or get better. They do this the most at dinner time, and I am so super busy at that time. So I'm left wondering, ok, do I A: Put him in another room to scream (they say never leave the room they are in, just turn your back) or B: Ignore the rest of my family and their needs at dinner time to be in the room with him while he tantrums, and isn't that counterproductive?? I honestly, honestly, don't know what to do here. I want to teach them that they cannot act this way, but I can't find something that works well for the whole family and be consistent with it. (My husband is also not comfortable with the "let them cry" method. But I'm afraid if we cater to their tantrums, we'll be raising little hellians!!) 

 We've had evaluations done on them (because they are a little behind developmentally, and their therapist said that they were operating on about an 18month old emotional/comprehensive level. I WANT well behaved children. I know that children of all ages need boundaries. They need parents to be the parents, and guide them. I guess my only concern is doing that in a way that is consistent and effective. So my question is: How do YOU handle tantrums from your toddlers?? TIA 

by on Oct. 26, 2013 at 3:40 PM
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Replies (1-8):
victoriaherring
by Bronze Member on Oct. 26, 2013 at 3:50 PM
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My daughter sometimes does better when we ignore the tantrums, but other times it helps to redirect her attention. I try not to make it seem like a reward, like I won't give candy even though I'm sure that would stop it.. I will sit down and play with blocks and start talking about how interesting they are and how I wish she would join me. Usually that catches her interest and comes to play with me. Other times when it's really bad I just hug her tight and tell her I love her over and over. It makes her more mad at first because she would rather lay in the floor and kick but then she calms down. I sometimes tell her "when you get mad like that it makes mommy sad, mommy likes it when you are happy." Sometimes I put her in her bed and she will go to sleep and the tantrum was from being tired.. Sometimes I have to explain to her that it's not ok for her to act that way and she goes in the corner. It is really a case by case thing. what I choose to do depends on what I feel that she understands. I wouldn't put her in the corner if it wasn't something I knew she was doing on purpose when she knows better.
Bieg9093
by on Oct. 26, 2013 at 3:58 PM
1 mom liked this

 If I had twins of that age, I'd use a playpen for tantrum time outs.  That'd ensure that the tantruming kid is safe while being completely ignored and the non-tantruming kid can get a little extra attention.  It's also a perfect deterrant...if the playpen is ONLY used for tantrum time outs, you can calmly warn the kid, while he's beginning to cycle up, "Now don't get yourself put into the playpen over this."  I also like the playpen because some kids will tantrum themselves until they throw up.  With a playpen, you have control over where it lands.

And for your husband...those kids are old enough, even if there's a delay, that it's not up to the parents to prevent them from crying anymore.  This is how they learn to get themselves under control.

mrsbarefootsoul
by on Oct. 26, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Ok, I see. Case by case basis. That makes sense. I've always been afraid to do it that way, because I fear that they won't understand why sometimes they get this reaction, and other times they get another. But I guess one day they will be old enough to talk these things through.Worth a shot, thanks! If I can just keep my sanity until then!! LOL


Quoting victoriaherring:

My daughter sometimes does better when we ignore the tantrums, but other times it helps to redirect her attention. I try not to make it seem like a reward, like I won't give candy even though I'm sure that would stop it.. I will sit down and play with blocks and start talking about how interesting they are and how I wish she would join me. Usually that catches her interest and comes to play with me. Other times when it's really bad I just hug her tight and tell her I love her over and over. It makes her more mad at first because she would rather lay in the floor and kick but then she calms down. I sometimes tell her "when you get mad like that it makes mommy sad, mommy likes it when you are happy." Sometimes I put her in her bed and she will go to sleep and the tantrum was from being tired.. Sometimes I have to explain to her that it's not ok for her to act that way and she goes in the corner. It is really a case by case thing. what I choose to do depends on what I feel that she understands. I wouldn't put her in the corner if it wasn't something I knew she was doing on purpose when she knows better.


atlmom2
by Ruby Member on Oct. 26, 2013 at 4:05 PM
Very consistant discipline. If their rooms have toys do not use that as the time out area.
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mrsbarefootsoul
by on Oct. 26, 2013 at 4:06 PM

I really like the playpen idea. That seems really consistent and safe. So it gives you a plan, and it's not like everyones walking around wondering what to do with the screaming child (which is what happens now) LOL 

And I agree. I actually get really upset with my husband over this. 

Example: Today we were in the grocery store. One of the boys started tantruming because I wiped his face. He was in the buggy (strapped in) flailing and screaming, etc. Well, my response was to go about my business. I was determined he was NOT going to get my attention acting that way. MY HUSBAND PICKED HIM UP!! Which led to me having to pick the other twin up before he started doing the same. I was so upset! DH said he didnt want to upset the other shoppers. My thought is : I don't give a rats behind what they thing! I'm not raising the other shoppers! LOL 

Quoting Bieg9093:

 If I had twins of that age, I'd use a playpen for tantrum time outs.  That'd ensure that the tantruming kid is safe while being completely ignored and the non-tantruming kid can get a little extra attention.  It's also a perfect deterrant...if the playpen is ONLY used for tantrum time outs, you can calmly warn the kid, while he's beginning to cycle up, "Now don't get yourself put into the playpen over this."  I also like the playpen because some kids will tantrum themselves until they throw up.  With a playpen, you have control over where it lands.

And for your husband...those kids are old enough, even if there's a delay, that it's not up to the parents to prevent them from crying anymore.  This is how they learn to get themselves under control.


vermontmoms
by on Oct. 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM

First of all...I can totally relate!  I have twin boys that are 10 now ;)  

For any issue that involved time (time-out/toy sharing/etc) at that age we tried several techniques...below are the best ones I received...

1) I got the visual timer from one step agead: http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=6270&cmSource=Search  

This product is one of the best!  You can program in times as presets (ie. timeout time and toy playtime) and use them over and over.  It is also a visual timer so they know when their timeout or toy special time is almost over or it is almost their turn b/c the timer is like a traffic light and changes colors when time is almost up.  This is a very valuable tool for small kids b/c the visual timer distracts while they wait b/c they like to watch the lights instead.  To me this product is worth its weight in gold!  Ebay has them for cheaper too....

2) Special Days: the MOST IMPORTANT thing that I instituted was special days.  I swear this could solve world peace and it did so in our house.  I started this when my boys were 2yrs.  I could have done it sooner but I didn't hear about it till 2.  So, what I did was print a picture of each boy with his name underneath on a piece of photo paper.  I put a magnet on the back of it; (remember to type their name in Vingy font or something similar b/c it is easy to read and has letters that look like the letters they will learn in school.  Also write the first letter capital and the others lower case so they learn this early on b/c some kids have a hard time unlearning this if they have been taught in all caps). You can also buy adhesive magnet photo paper that you get at office depot/staples, etc. That way their picture is sure to stay on the fridge.  

Every morning I would change pictures/names.  The boys got up each day and went to the fridge to look to see whose name was on the fridge and whose special day it was.

When it was twin A's special day he got any toy that was being fought over first and the other boy had to wait for his turn.  That boy also got to pick which outfit first and the other boy picked second.  If we had a movie to return at blockbuster and there was only ONE the boy listed for that day got to put it in the slot, etc.  The special boy did other things first like brush teeth, choose pjs, choose the game of the day, choose the morning activity, etc.

I used special days for 5yrs and it amazes me how much conflict got solved this way and the boys know the rules so I was no longer the bad guy choosing one over the other.  

As they got older I would print out a monthly calendar with their names on each day with our monthly activities and this helped them learn how to read a calendar and the days of the week. Trust me this will help and was the best advice that I have received for my twins over the years!!!

Now for Timeouts and tantrums...
Tantrums...look up hand in hand parenting at handinhand.org. This site has great resources and a message board on Yahoo that is also great.

Also watch their diet. Anything with preservatives and food dye will increase tantrums and cause them to become agitated more easily. Also make sure you give them a snack at 3:30-4pm. This always helped the crying times while I cooked.

Timeouts...Personally, I found trying to put young twins in timeout to be useless. But if you want to try get a small piece of carpet and have a special color for each twin. Chairs won't work.

Speech delay: your kiddos may have a speech delay which is causing increased frustration. Teach them sign language. It helped a ton.

Well, I hope you find this useful!!!
Jen


Bieg9093
by on Oct. 26, 2013 at 4:27 PM

 Oh dear.

See...when my kids were little, tantrums that happened while out and about landed them in the carseat with me outside of the car.  And again, with the twin, he can be outside the car with you while you say stuff like, "I wish he wasn't having this tantrum.  We could be having such a lovely shopping trip together and I really wanted to get such-and-such for you and your brother.  Now we just have to wait.  Next time YOU feel like having a tantrum, you're going to do the right thing and stop yourself, right?  Of course you will!  Because this is SUCH a waste of time!"

I'm a manipulative Mama, but it's worked for me so far!

Quoting mrsbarefootsoul:

I really like the playpen idea. That seems really consistent and safe. So it gives you a plan, and it's not like everyones walking around wondering what to do with the screaming child (which is what happens now) LOL 

And I agree. I actually get really upset with my husband over this. 

Example: Today we were in the grocery store. One of the boys started tantruming because I wiped his face. He was in the buggy (strapped in) flailing and screaming, etc. Well, my response was to go about my business. I was determined he was NOT going to get my attention acting that way. MY HUSBAND PICKED HIM UP!! Which led to me having to pick the other twin up before he started doing the same. I was so upset! DH said he didnt want to upset the other shoppers. My thought is : I don't give a rats behind what they thing! I'm not raising the other shoppers! LOL 

Quoting Bieg9093:

 If I had twins of that age, I'd use a playpen for tantrum time outs.  That'd ensure that the tantruming kid is safe while being completely ignored and the non-tantruming kid can get a little extra attention.  It's also a perfect deterrant...if the playpen is ONLY used for tantrum time outs, you can calmly warn the kid, while he's beginning to cycle up, "Now don't get yourself put into the playpen over this."  I also like the playpen because some kids will tantrum themselves until they throw up.  With a playpen, you have control over where it lands.

And for your husband...those kids are old enough, even if there's a delay, that it's not up to the parents to prevent them from crying anymore.  This is how they learn to get themselves under control.


 

1frog
by on Oct. 26, 2013 at 4:29 PM
1 mom liked this

Most of the time for ds it worked to ignore his tantrums if possible. Once though he had one so bad in a store I took him back home to Daddy. He didn't get to have fun time with Mommy. But that the worst one. Redirection works also, just turn them around, hand them something and send him off, but not the object the tantrum was over, then he's just getting his way. I never used that much. I still remember the very last one he had, and it was a goodie, dinner time, hubby, myself and ds all in kitchen, suddenly, for no reason, he laid down and had a royal FIT. Arms flailing, feet kicking kiniption. Hubby and I looked at each other, shrugged, ignored it, stepped over him to continue making dinner. When he stood up hubby asked if he felt better now. He said "yeth" and never had one again.

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