Here are five great ways to de-crank your child so you’ll both be happier!
One of the best ways to turn a toddler’s frown upside down is to distract her from her angry mood with silly games. Here are some to try:
Sing some silly songs. For many toddlers, getting dressed can quickly turn into tantrum time. So instead of struggling with your little one, try singing to her. Crooning a tune while putting on her pants can make the process fun instead of frustrating. This same tactic works well during other potentially explosive moments (for example, diaper changes, shampooing, hair combing) too. You can make up funny verses for existing songs (“I got shoes, babe…”) or create your own melody and lyrics to fit the bill.
Make a funny face. A goofy grin goes a long way when it comes to stopping a tantrum in its tracks.Once you’ve got her attention, ask if she has any requests: “Want Mommy to look surprised? How about sad?” Then exaggerate your expressions and watch your child go from grizzly to giggly pretty quickly.
Get playful. Defuse a tense moment by injecting play into the mix.For instance, if your youngster refuses to put on her shoes, tell her you’re going to put them on the cat instead. (“Here, kitty, time to get your shoes on!”) Chances are she’ll cooperate as she chuckles at your jokes.
Make believe. Turning a dreaded task into a flight of fantasy can make all the difference. For instance, if getting into the stroller is a flashpoint for tantrums, try playing a game of “spanning the globe” and pretend you’re heading off to the Congo to visit some magical monkeys. If bath time often brings out the bear in your child, it’s time for a round of “beauty shop,” complete with a “pedicure” and “facial.”
Meet a challenge with a challenge. A contest or race may be just the thing to compel a testy toddler to cooperate. For example, try holding a hand-washing contest (who can make the most suds?) or a clean-up race (who can put the toys away faster?). To make the race official, set a timer and play beat the clock while your toddler rushes to get ready for bed or scrambles into her stroller.