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Toddler temper tantrums: How I learned to stay stress free

Picture the scene, it’s a beautiful day, you’re at your favourite restaurant about to sit down to a fabulous Sunday lunch, when suddenly all hell breaks loose.

How many times have your meals out been ruined by a toddler tantrum?

I had my first experience of the ‘terrible twos’ one beautiful Sunday afternoon. We had attended our favourite family restaurant for Sunday lunch. My daughter, Tilly, was sitting between us in her high chair. The menu looked mouth-watering and everything was dandy. Then suddenly the crystal clear wine glasses began to vibrate over the crisp white table linen and knives and forks started to shake. At first I thought it was an earthquake. But it was far worst. Tilly was having a tantrum.


[Related: 
How I help my two year old get over shyness]

With her tiny little feet she kicked the table from underneath. She then tried to break free from her chair. Then came the screaming, causing all eyes to turn on us. “I want daddy” she screamed. Thinking this would calm her, I took her out of the chair and handed her to daddy. The wailing stopped for exactly six seconds before she once again tried to break free. “I want to get down,” she wailed. Threats like “If you don’t behave we’re going home” fell on deaf ears. By now the tantrum was in full swing.

We were attracting more attention than Joan Collins. I couldn’t understand it. She wasn’t even two. It wasn’t fair. I felt cheated. My daughter was only 22 months. Had she begun the terrible twos early, like some kind of early menopause syndrome?

A bemused waiter came to take our order. “What would you like?” he asked. “Just our coats,” I replied. Yes, it was time to leave.

We suffered the terrible twos for quite some time. My daughter did not mind where she had a tantrum. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it.

Rather than let it spoil our time, I thought up different ways to deal with the situation so that when a tantrum struck, I was armed and ready. I even gave it a name: ‘Tantrum Tamer’. It worked most of the time, which was definitely better than none of the time. More importantly – it got us through. Here’s how I coped.


[Related: 
How to switch off the waterworks]

Whenever a tantrum struck I would go through a series of five stages with my daughter:

Physical contact and understand helps with toddler tantrums

1. Even if my daughter was screaming at the top of her voice and showing no signs of listening, I would get down to her level so we were face to face. I would explain in a low calm voice that I understood that she was feeling upset. I would then say that if we both took a deep breath together we would start to feel better.

2. I soon discovered that if I made things more child friendly and more like a game, I got better results. Hence the name ‘Tantrum Tamer’. I would say to my daughter, “Shall we try the Tantrum Tamer?” This consisted of a series of actions, starting with a hug. For me this was twofold. If she was totally running wild I could restrain her. Secondly, children quite often respond to touch.

Next we would breathe deeply. I would ask my daughter to take a deep breath in and then blow out with puffy cheek at least twice. It usually calmed me down, too. I would then tell my daughter the lovely warm feeling in her tummy was the Tantrum Tamer working. It would take a little time but would definitely work faster if sheHow to amuse toddlers in the car sat quietly.


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3. I would not only talk calmly to my daughter, but physically look and act calm so that she could see The Tamer was beginning to work. I would smile widely, and say things like “I feel so happy” or “I’m ready for a nice nap”. Anything my daughter would respond to.

4. If all of the above failed, I felt it was time for more drastic measures such as taking away a treat. I would say that she would not be able to go to the park until she was better behaved. If you decide to try this, you need to use your judgement on what penalty will work best for you and your child at that moment. The thing to remember is that this is the last warning.

5. Stick to your guns. If things are not better at this stage then you must carry out the penalty. Don’t be hoodwinked into giving another chance because this will only come back to bite you next time.

For me the terrible twos were a huge learning curve. Although I feel grateful for the experience, I have to admit that now that it’s over, I can breathe a sigh of relief – at least until the teenage years!

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 normal_scribbles_4

I gave you some crayons

To create your own space

But you decided to invade

My own personal place

You scribbled and tortured

all of my walls

If only your design

Was like Niagara Falls

But all you do is

Destroy my walls

Can’t you create a

Mona Lisa

Or even

The tower of Pisa

If I take your crayons away

What will happen today

Will you take out your paints

And decorate my place

To look like no – ones ever seen

Pretend you are Leonardo Da Vince

Sit quietly and paint my face

Gillian Sims

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I rubbed my eyes

As I jumped out of bed.

Brush your teeth,”

My mother said.

I opened my curtains wide,

I could not believe my eyes.

I saw a very large frog

Absolutely full of spots

Floating.

Or wait!

Could it be a dog?

Is it barking? Or is it croaking?

Then came that voice,

Have you brushed your teeth yet?”

Then the frog stopped and pushed his nose,

Against the glass,

What time is it?” he cried.

I left my watch at my bed side.”

My mother then ran up the stairs

I waved goodbye to spotty frog,

He started barking like a dog.

It sounded very much like,

Have you brushed your teeth yet?”

Gillian Sims copyright 2009

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This fun and entertaining book will engage children for hours, whilst

the characters support children in developing their manners.

Age range 4-10

Available from http://www.amazon.co.uk

Price £6.95

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monkeymmmmmmmmmmm

book mouse

pink hat

 

Molly the mouse was walking to school with Cheeky Monkey
When the wind blew off her hat into a tree,
“I will get it I will get your hat for you”
Without further ado
Cheeky Monkey chased the hat it blew into the middle of the road
Molly looked worried she knew how dangerous the road can be
“No! No! She shouted look at all the traffic can’t you see?
“You must wait at the crossroads for the little green man to appear.”
Cheeky Monkey just ran and ran he didn’t listen,the hat was near
Molly waited for his safe return
She knew Cheeky Monkey didn’t listen to her concerns
All Molly could do was sit and watch
Her brave friend weave and dodge
The traffic in his plight to capture her hat
Molly just wanted her friend back
That is why it is always best
To use the green cross code
You will always be safe on the roads

Gillian Sims

This poem was taken from Manners Bear And Friends my new children’s poetry book  now available at Waterstone’s

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I found a giraffe in my bath

He was having a wash

He looked very clean

And he sounded very posh,

I didn’t know his name

I wasn’t sure why he was there

He seemed very polite

So I didn’t really care,

There was a giraffe in my bath

When I went to have a wash

I didn’t know his name

But he sounded very posh,

When I asked him to leave

He didn’t seem very pleased

So I left the giraffe in the bath

I just hope he hadn’t got a key

Gillian Sims

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Please don’t drink to the brink and waste your time

Inviting yourself into the world of crime,

Don’t hang around with people who

Drain your energy and lead you to,

Do all the wrong things that can hurt others,

Don’t despair, there is a world out there

For you to discover, If only you would take the time

To use your energy positively,and open your mind,

Search for creativity, education or sport

Sit yourself down,and give it some thought

by Gillian Sims

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Overall rating:
5 out of 5
Location:Blackhall Colliery Co. Durham
Age:61
The Manners Collection by Gillian Sims
29 November 2010
I brought the book for my grandson he thought it was great .He enjoyed reading the poems. sheila from Blackhall Co. Durham
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Overall rating:
5 out of 5
Never forget manners
28 September 2010
Whatever happened to ‘manners’?
Now how many times have we heard that? Well, they are still there and this excellent book takes children back to the values we hold dear, but which sadly have become shrouded in dust and grime.
Well done Gillian and all at Poetree Creations.
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Overall rating:
5 out of 5
Location:nottingham
Age:67
a good lesson
25 September 2010
This book was bought for my grand daughter who enjoyed it immensely and so I read it and was immediately impressed with the content and the messages it was expressing
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Overall rating:
5 out of 5
Location:Nottingham
Age:67
A truly inspiring childrens book
24 September 2010
I have read this book to my grandchildren who enjoyed the very well wriiten verses. This book not only brings laughter it also educates those who read it. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to young and old who I know will get a great deal of pleasure and humour this book will bring to all who read it.
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Overall rating:
5 out of 5
Location:Ruddington NOTTINGHAM
Age:63
I love it
24 September 2010
My two grandaughters aged just 5 years and almost 4 years love me reading this book to them, It is a very easy to read book, and very easy to understand The children also love all the pictures of the animals especially the monkey on Mind your P’S and Q’S On page 17. A book you can just pick up and read for whatever length of time you have eg 10mins. Altogether a very good book for children, The best I have bought in a long time
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Overall rating:
5 out of 5
Location:Nottingham, England
Age:21
Great for Kids!
21 September 2010
I have read this book to my neices and nephews as well as taking it into the primary school I work in and all the children have loved it. They really love the illustrations and talking about the animals in the book. Very entertaining and educational a must have if you have children aged 3-11.
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