Calming down a child when they are having a meltdown or toddler tantrum is not an easy thing. We are submitted to one of these on daily basis, now mainly when Baby Z is tired and hasn’t had a nap. She believes she is now old enough to skip this very important activity in her little toddler life. So on cue just before dinner time we have the breakdown which normally commences from us telling her she needs to stop doing an activity to her then throwing a screaming and crying match.
When these first began (a little before her second birthday), we united and decided to ignore her tantrums as after a little while she would get bored at the lack of attention and then continue her normal behaviour. However, when her crying got louder or she became uncontrollable, we tried the naughty time out…. that so did not work. Even after a few times, little miss did not get the idea of ‘I’m being naughty’.
So then Daddy came up with a brilliant idea, as we live in a flat, he one day took her in her room and sat with her. Explained to her to calm down then told her he would be coming back in a few minutes to see how she was. Behold, after a few minutes of being left on her own (with the door open obviously), the crying turned into sniffles so we went back in. She was a lot calmer and relaxed, she even agreed to eat the food she was throwing around two minutes before.
After this we decided to call it ‘calm down’ time and that would happen in her bedroom. After a few more times, Baby Z started to use it herself. Now when she starts to have a breakdown of any sort, she walks off into her room announcing “I’m going to calm down now” and off she goes. Come a few minutes later, she walks back in tears wiped down saying “I’m all better now.” We normally hug her for her good behaviour and off she goes doing her normal thing.
I think it worked for us because she gets away from us and gets her own time in her room. Also her room is just down the short corridor so she has full access to it. I’m glad we didn’t do the whole naughty step in the end, it seemed a bit too much for her to handle. Instead she has grasped this concept because we kept it open and she knows the drill even when we put her in to calm down.
The only difficult thing is when we are at some ones else home… we can’t carry her bedroom with us. (Then again she doesn’t seem to really have a toddler tantrum outside the home… for now anyway.)