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This Mom Has a Very Good Trick to Calm a Toddler When She Throws a TantrumNo prep involved in this game!by Kate Borbon .
Parents wish they can always predict tantrum from happening. The reality is when they tell him, “You can’t play outside until after you take your nap,” he could cry and throw a fit, catching them off-guard. But one mom says the key is knowing that in this particular situation, the only thing that registered is this sentence: “You can’t play outside.” Understanding what is going through your child's head with this thought in mind can help you calm him.
Amanda, a former mental health counselor and mom of two who runs the blog Messy Motherhood, writes in a blog post that her child threw a tantrum after she asked him to clean up the blocks that had been left strewn all over his room. She soon realized that he became upset because he thought she was asking him to also put away the brick inventions he had been working on for days.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
After her attempt to empathize and describe how he is feeling, Amanda realized that her child was so upset and “flooded with emotion that he literally can’t think straight. He can’t calm down enough to understand what I’m trying to tell him,” she wrote.
Amanda then decided to pull out her favorite trick to calm down frustrated kids: She asked him to play a quick game.
She asked him to look around the room and point out five blue things. He slowly walked over to the bin that holds his bricks and said, “This is blue…one.” After that, he continued to walk across his room and name other blue things. Soon enough, his crying stopped, and he was able to smile.
After they were done with the game, Amanda sat her little one down and calmly explained that he can keep his brick inventions out for as long as he wants. Then, she asked him to pick up all the stray, unused bricks and put them in the bin. He followed her instruction!ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
In her post, Amanda explains this trick is based on an understanding of how the emotional brain works. “When we get upset, our brains are functioning in its more primitive brain or the limbic system. This part of the brain controls our emotions.
“This happens in adults and children alike. But, the adult brain is fully developed (if you’re over 25 that is). So, we can control our emotional brain a little better than kids can,” she continues. “When our brain is functioning in the limbic system, it has a harder time functioning in its upper brain where logic takes place. Literally, we’re so emotional that we can’t think straight.”
She says, “One quick hack to get people, including kids, to calm down is to get them thinking. This moves brain functioning from the emotional brain to the logical brain.”
If you’re planning on using this trick on your toddler the next time he throws a tantrum, note that the first step is to get his attention. Amanda suggests switching the lights off and on, jumping up and down, or even whispering so that he would have to lean in to hear you.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Aside from asking him to count five blue things, you can also give him other challenges depending on his age and ability. Offspring recommends asking your tot to name things that start with a certain letter or three soft things.
“Keep it simple but get them thinking,” Amanda shares.
Yelling is not an effective way to handle your toddler's tantrums, no matter how frustrating they might be. To learn about how to better manage those outbursts, click here.
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