1. Breathing. Tantrums are energy. Energy is controlled through breathing. Breath faster, heart rate goes up, increase pressure. Breath longer and slower, heart rate goes down, decrease pressure. You can't control breathing if they can't hear you and if they're screaming, they probably can't hear you.
2. When in doubt, take a time out. In our house, time out is NEVER about punishment. It's about creating a tiny little space in the moment to distract, re-direct, or connect about how everyone is feeling.
3. Ignore. Toddlers are masterful observers of your behavior. They know you better than you think they do. Tantrums can create leverage in their favor....Like in the grocery store, or at a restaurant - you know, the places that embarass me the most. Ignoring tantrums when no one is looking, when it's just the two of you can remove that leverage when the stakes are higher
4. What's the big deal? Toddler's want to please. Don't forget that. They also want what they want. Connect with them about both. What do they want? How can they make a good decision?
5. Re-direct. "Oh look, I just thought of a surprise." "Wanna go on an adventure?" "I wonder what would happen if..." are a couple of my favorite redirects.
6. Be the example. I've had meltdowns in front of my family. I've lost my shit. And I had to pick up my pieces and acknowledge, ask for forgiveness and move forward. Show them how to move on with grace.
7. It's not the end of the world. But it may feel that way to them. Reassuring that everything is going to work out or brainstorming another solution can sometimes calm those tears and offer a little hope.
8. Understanding the circumstances. The other day our daughter knocked on the bathroom door. I told her I was in there and I'd be out in a minute. She lost it. Bawling, crying, full on tantrum. I didn't see it coming. What I didn't know was she had tried another idea, been told no by her dad and offered a solution that required my help. It wasn't the 'knocking on the door and having to wait a minute' that was overwhelming. It was the fear that this idea wasn't going to work out either.
9. Communication. Talking with Toddlers is hard. Limited vocabularies. Strange ideas. It's like there's someone upstairs that's playing a cruel joke. Make a brilliant child with creative and crazy ideas and don't give them any way to talk about it. Well, that's what we're here for isn't it. Learning to communicate about feelings, before, during and after tantrums is a BIG part of growing up and healthy emotions.
10. When all else fails, grab a glass of wine, grab a beer, sit back and watch the show. At their wedding, you'll remember how cute and adorbs they were...not this "Reality Show Entertainment" they're putting on for free! And if you don't stop to appreciate how outrageous they are being right here, right now, you might forget to measure how much better they are in 6 months.