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Top 7 Ways to Nip a Toddler Meltdown in the Bud

Who has the melty toddlers? I has the melty toddlers.

I also have a very sweet, charming, intelligent and funny toddler boy. And a little duchess of a young baby(ish) girl, fresh on the new shiny ride that is Toddler-Hood.

Both of them, I tell you — they can throw a fit with the best of them. Throughout our brief foray in the land of parenthood, we’ve come across some surefire techniques to curb toddler meltdowns.

There’s been a lot of failures, a lot of tears and quite a few introspective moments — on all sides. But, for the most part, I feel good about our engaged, non-passive approach. It is a tender, delicate dance we do in helping our children develop their coping skills and to feel comfortable/learn to express themselves.

Top 10 Ways to Nip a Toddler Meltdown in the Bud…

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  • Not a Big Deal 1 of 7
    Not a Big Deal
    It may sound like big deal, and sure tantrums are loud and grating (especially with the frequency in which they occur over the silliest of things.) We're definitely not flipping out over being handed the wrong kind of juice or a YouTube video stalling. Although I've seen my fair share of 'adults' who do and say the craziest/harshest/melodramatic of things over nothing. So there's that. In many ways, it's important that us adults remember we aren't so much more better evolved than toddlers. Every once in a while, our toddlers could teach us a thing or two about staying true to our feelings. The more power you give a tantrum, the more a toddler notices (and the more they'll frequently will act out just to get your attention.)
  • Don’t Give in 2 of 7
    Don't Give in
    The easiest thing to do is to give them what they want, which isn't good for you or your child in the long-term. Younger toddlers (1-2) usually start to freak out because they still can't vocalize what they are feeling or what they need or want. They can't always express when they need milk or have a wet diaper. Often it stems from feelings of confusion or frustration, with things like not being able to accomplish a task or not getting the response from you that they want. Older toddlers are totally testing you and it's not always based on what they need vs. more of what they want. Learn to read your toddler's signs of hunger and thirst. Engage in play with them and help them achieve their goals, using simple, soothing vocabulary when things don't always work out. There is a fine line between not feeding into their frustration and acknowledging their feelings.
  • Patience & Guidance 3 of 7
    Patience & Guidance
    Toddler kicking and screaming about wanting the iPhone? Exhibit lots of repetitive, short phrases in a clear and passionate tone of voice. It's tough being a toddler where all of your decisions get made for you (for good reason). Vocalize in vocabulary they can understand that you totally get it. That it's okay that they are frustrated. Sometimes it's completely understandable and okay for them to be frustrated, sometimes it's a lot of drama. It's good to acknowledge these differences with them.
  • See the Signs 4 of 7
    See the Signs
    Get to know your toddler. I mean, really know them. Meltdowns are often the direct result of being in an unfamiliar environment, in a big crowd, or around new people. Toddlers aren't in the mood for any of that at times, just like we aren't.
  • Keep Your Cool 5 of 7
    Keep Your Cool

    This is hard. I know it. I get it. I don't always do it. But I KNOW it's the way (enter the singing angels singing praises). What works for me? Not taking it personally, and as cheesy as it sounds, employing breathing exercises. Walking away if I have to. It can be hard to deny one's instincts (to yell back), but we know that's not the answer. We know that, right? Teaching yourself to regulate your emotions, will in turn teach them the very same thing. It's like I've been saying, these kids I tell ya, they make us better people, not just better parents -- if we really and truly tune into the tasks at hand.

  • Diet & Exercise 6 of 7
    Diet & Exercise
    Yes, yes, I know. Your toddler could be napped, and fed and watered and milked out the yahoo, and still the melt-downs happen. This is what they are made for after all. This is conducive to the very stage in life of where they are at -- testing each and every boundary there is. They love testing their own limits and your limits all the time. It's how they learn. It's part of their development. They don't do it because they are evil vampire toddlers. Honest. (Even though the thought has crossed my mind more than once). As I was saying. Sometimes, a tantrum is exactly related to your child's blood sugar levels or because they've been cooped up all day. I used to pick up a very happy toddler from daycare who quickly turned into Dracula toddler. I soon learned that bringing a banana with me in the car to give him as a snack on the ride home stopped that freak-out routine short. If dinnertime is late? Beware the wrath of the hungry toddler. All I'm saying is regular meal-times, snacks (of the healthy variety), water and exercise greatly improve our moods, so the same works for these toddlers. True story.
  • When All Else Fails… 7 of 7
    When All Else Fails…
    Toss them in the water. No, but seriously. This often works really well when either of my toddlers wake up from their naps grouchy and meltdowns are but a finger graze away. You know, if I dare touch their knee cap. Or one of them touches the other. Then it's all over. Draw a bubble bath or fill up the pool in the backyard. It's like magic I tell you. Magic.

I showed you mine, now you show me yours! What works with your toddlers?

More Babbles From Selena…

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Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Creative Director. Social Media & Branding Consultant. Regular writer on Disney Baby. Part-time big-mouth & frequent foot-eater. Proud of her Anishinaabe roots.

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