Everyone knows about the Terrible Twos (or Sixes or Eights for that matter)! Many children in many different situations struggle with anger management and self-control. And learning to deal with that is a part of life. When toddlers get angry or upset, it's hard to calm them down, especially if you're a babysitter and don't know the child very well. This article helps babysitters, parents, and anyone else taking care of a child that is throwing a tantrum, crying, refusing to do something, etc
Be gentle and caring. Try to reason with the child. Ask them what they want? Make bargains with them. Go halfway and give them a deal. The most important thing is to give them the reasons why you are doing what you are doing. These may not all work for your child, but here are some ideas that might help your child learn to manage their anger, calm down, and avoid stress for you.
Let them breathe: Blow Bubbles: As adults we often try taking deep breaths to help us calm down in intense situations. But each time I would suggest that my daughter (who is 2) take a few deep breaths to calm down, she would try to but then go right back to crying, so then one day I thought what can she do that she likes…? Blowing bubbles !!! Not only is a fun, happy activity for children, but the act of blowing air through the bubble wand requires them to breathe deeply. Soon they've relaxed and calmed down to a point where they can talk a little more rationally about whatever issue is at hand.
Calming Jar :At first timeouts worked great, but now it has ceased to be effective ( Especially because they viewed it as a punishment rather than just a way to step away from the situation and calm down) Now, instead of a timeout, I hand my daughter a calming jar. She knows to shake it up good, and then watch the glitter swirl and spin in the water, slowly settling to the bottom. It really has an amazing effect and it's quite soothing. It can take up to 5 minutes for the glitter to settle, and in that time she more relaxed. Here are good instructions to make calming jar. (http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Calming-Glitter-Jars/)
Unplug Them: Children who see aggressive or violent behavior played out on the TV screen or in computer games tend to be more aggressive when they play. If your child is consistently aggressive, limit their exposure. If they see it on TV, explain that hitting isn’t a nice way to act and doesn‘t solve problems. Reinforce the message by choosing storybooks and TV shows that promote kindness. I even notice some kids cartoons are also encouraging kids to be “needy” and “constantly complaining”
Look for Triggers: Do tantrums seem to happen mostly when your toddler is tired, hungry, rushed? Are there situations he finds difficult to handle such as playgroup, shopping or being strapped in a car seat? Keeping a tantrum diary might help you understand triggers. Try to think ahead and limit overwhelming situations. For instance, plan short shopping trips when they aren’t tired, take nutritious snacks and water whenever you go out, and don’t wait for difficult behavior before you offer food or it can seem like a reward. Try to avoid junk food and sugary drinks.
Create a calming space for them. Have a small part of the room or a basket filled with calming yet fun actives. I have a soft baby elephant, puzzles, sensory items, and a musical instrument. Try your best to stay calm and listen to what your child is saying. It usually when we try to control them, they act out. Let them feel like they are in control and you can give them options. For example, it’s always a 15 min fight to getting her to brush her teeth. Now we lay out 5-6 different toothbrush and paste and she can choose which one she wants, giving her the control, yet still getting done what I want. This was a great tip giving by my friends. Talking to other moms is a great way to get ideas.