I have a delightful little four year old. She has all the cute four year old stuff; runny nosed kisses, sudden nocturnal meanderings around the house, competition with her baby sister for everything and even some adorable tantrums.
Photo: xololounge , Morguefile
They happen without warning and without reason; they can be triggered by tiredness, sugar, overwhelming situations, Target, visitors, food she likes, food she hates or having to get into or out of (or both) the bath.
Now I am an attachment parent so I try to understand the reason for the tantrum and help her address that rather than punish. I still don’t know that it works, but it makes me happy so I’m going to keep on with it for the time being.
Here are some Attachment Parent solutions to tantrums that I have found work, for us at least. Maybe for you too!
1. Holding. Sometimes the world is just too big. I have thwarted major sugar/Mcdonalds/visitor/new toys/overstimulation tantrums by simply taking her to the car and sitting in it, holding her in my lap and singing. Creating a whole new little world for her to feel safe in. It does involve carrying a screaming child to a car so you might not be so into that.
Photo: anitapeppers, Morguefile
2. Bed. Even if it is a bit of a tussle, if you can somehow coerce Screamypants into bed, you may find they will have a little sleep and it might restore their factory settings. Perhaps. Or keep them up all night.
3. Walking/running. If you can see something in the distance and it is possible, run to it together. It’s a bit of a distraction and gives you both some endorphins. Hard to do if they aren’t into it or don’t believe you that you just saw a unicorn. A park is a very good object to run to, because they will generally want to go there.
Photo: dancerinthedark, Morguefile
4. Break it up. Get a trusted third party to step in and ask the child what they would like to say. This is good if you co-parent, as you can then establish trust with the child that they always have a parent to turn to.
5. Do something completely different. Pull out the PlayDoh. Start drawing. Listen to some music and chill while the child calms down, and then address the issue later.
And if all else fails, go to the next room and scream into a pillow. Pillows love that, and maybe it will teach your child that they can do that rather than scream at you.