The miracle words that calm down a tantrum – Every time!
Want to help calm an epic tantrum – without loosing your cool?
With all that is awesome about children, the laughter, the snuggles, the silly comments and all the fun there is also the crazy; the whining, the crying, the fighting and the epic tantrums – Tantrums are going to happen, they will be strong, they will be loud, they will be mighty and they WILL be fierce. Trying to calm a tantrum can be difficult even though we know it’s all apart of childhood, it’s part of them figuring out the world, where they stand and what they can get away with. I get it. I know that they have to do it, or that they feel they NEED to do it and that they don’t have control over it, but it doesn’t make life any easier. I hate seeing them upset, I hate knowing that they are sad, and for a time I HATED that I couldn’t stop the sadness
Often what people do is give in, let the child do what they want or have what they want because it is easier. And we all know what kind of adults that creates – so let us all band together and stop the craziness. Sometimes I have to repeat a mantra over and over I MUST not give in, I must not give in to their screams, I must not give in to their demands like they are holding my sanity, their sanity hostage. If someone tells me that their kid doesn’t have tantrums they either A) are lying or B) let their kid do whatever they want – which is helping no one. My children tantrum, they yell, and scream, cry, pout, and even on occasion have hit us.
OK. So now that we all know that kids do it…and we can’t give in, what the hell do we do?
I have learned the best way to calm them down, to make them stop, and to decrease the amount of tantrums they have. It seems to be very simply and I forget where I learned this most wonderful method came from – but whoever you are…thank you, thank you, thank you. It has made life with our very determined, very strong-willed and very tenacious little girl slightly more tolerable, with just a few very simple words.
I generally either get down on my knees, and hold their hands and have them look at me, or if need be I hold onto them if the tantrum has escalated to uncontrollable level and I repeat over and over in a very calm, understanding tone….. “I understand……” “I know you want ____”, “I want to be able to do that too”, “You like to do that because…”. You acknowledge their wishes, repeat what they are telling you, repeat their desires, their NEEDS. You tell them that you KNOW what they want. And once they finally stop screaming long enough to hear you, they will stop, they will look at you and feel relieved. “FINALLY someone gets it” they will think “finally I’m being heard.”
It usually just takes a couple of times, and then they look at me so thankful, that someone GETS it, they look at me relieved that someone understands them. “Yah mummy I dooo”. I then very quickly, calmly and quietly explain WHY they can’t eat their stuffed animal, or why they can’t stay up ALL night, or why they couldn’t use the cup their sibling was using” – Yes that’s right they have the most rational and realistic reasons for screaming, shouting and causing a fuss.
When I went back to work both of my children lashed out at my poor husband. My first especially had a hard time with it. He went from this sweet and kind natured boy to a full blown, head bashing, screaming, uncontrollable, tantrum throwing crazy man any time my husband would go to him at night when he needed to pee. But after some trial and error we finally figured out what was wrong and we used the “I know you want mommy” thing…over and over and over again. It helps them feel like their voice is heard, like they have control over what is otherwise an uncontrollable situation.
It will work…Be firm, be fair, be consistent and repeat to yourself…
I. Will. Not. Back. Down.
It doesn’t stop the tantrums, they will continue to happen, but their length, their intensity will subside and you will start a lovely, long life of open communication and understanding, without giving in to their every desire. We still have them all the time, and I most certainly am not doing everything perfectly, but “I know/understand” seems to have helped our tantrums…I hope it works for you too.