Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Daddy Magic: Tantrum? Change the Subject

Toddlers have two-second attention spans.

They are smiling at you and then... boom... they're staring at the guy walking by then... boom... they see a puppy then... boom... a car drives by.

This short attention span can be used to your advantage when it comes to tantrums.

My two-year-old hates getting strapped into the car. If you've had a two-year-old, you probably know that they can get pretty wild. So today ours was running around the car while I was trying to put our one-year-old into the car.

She loves to climb around in the car, but you're guaranteeing a tantrum then, because when you strap her in you're taking her from something she loves to something she hates. It's a guaranteed tantrum. However, I realized it was safer to have her climb around inside the car than run around outside of it.

So I opened the passenger door and asked her to climb in. She gleefully agreed. It was nice for me, because I peacefully put our baby into the carseat, got the baby bag (backpack) into the car, and got ready for our toddler.

I knew she was going to throw a tantrum, so I started a little early. I asked her to get into her seat. She refused. I then had her say yes to me instead (that's a great discipline we've already established). I asked her again, and so she sat on her seat and started playing with her buckles. I walked around the car to her side.

That's when she knew it was time, and she bolted away from her chair. I was ready, and I caught her arm. She started throwing a tantrum. I asked her nicely to get strapped in. She reluctantly agreed and sat in the chair.

I then started getting the straps around her arms. She slinked to the floor and started throwing another tantrum. I asked her again. I helped her to her feet and asked for her to get ready again. She agreed, and we put her in the seat. She started complaining again.

So I started changing the subject. I asked her where the buckle fastened. I asked her how it work. She showed me. I asked her about her Elmo toy, and she showed me how that worked too.

You're kid probably won't be that easy to distract the first few times. Mine wasn't either. However, if you read my post about the anatomy of a tantrum, you know that they aren't going to keep doing it for very long if they know that it's only going to make their life worse.

Anatomy of a tantrum:

That's the way it is with our daughter. Sure, she'll say no and start to throw a tantrum.

But then I ask her to do something. She knows that if she doesn't obey, then discipline will keep coming until she does. That's why she's easily distracted. She knows throwing a tantrum isn't effective. It only makes things worse for her.

A child who only throws a tantrum for a few mere seconds? Now that's Daddy Magic!



TheAnimationEmpire update:

Do you have a bucket full of cheese?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Daddy Magic: Leave the Tantrum

So let's get into some more specifics about the tantrum. We established that discipline is necessary. If you're in the room and you can hear or feel the tantrum, then the tantrum is a success. You have to make it a failure to get it to stop.

For me, a tantrum means, "I want to go to bed." So I usually start there. "You're crying. Are you ready to go to bed?" She says, "No." "Oh, but you're still crying. Let's go to bed. If you stop crying then you won't have to go to bed." If she stops. That's good. If she doesn't, she goes to bed. She always stops. She never has to go to bed. Sure, she had to learn it, but it didn't take long.

There are two times where that won't work. First, it's not going to work if you're driving somewhere. That's why she goes in the car before anything else. I put her in the car, and then she throws a tantrum (she doesn't like to be strapped in). First, I try distractions, by getting her to help me (more on that later). If that doesn't work, that's fine. I leave her in the car to scream while I get the rest of the stuff and keep packing the car. We can't hear her. It's futile, so it usually only lasts a few seconds. Why scream your head off if you have no audience?

How about when you're at the store? Try distractions. If it doesn't work, go for discipline, which, unfortunately, might mean it's time for you to leave the store. However, there are forms of discipline you can use in the store as well. More on that later.

The other time it won't work is if she can climb out of bed, open the door, and walk out of the room. We put discipline on that too, so she doesn't do that. However, if you haven't taught your toddler to stay in the room (and toddler-proofed it) then you're going to need to bite the bullet and put that baby proof door handle on the inside. Lock your kid in. If she can escape, she won't be miserable. She needs to learn that a tantrum will steadily make life miserable for the rest of her life. The sooner she stops, the sooner her misery stops.

Sure, you can still hear the tantrum if you leave him in the room (that way you know if the scream is from pain or something else). But it should be faint so that it doesn't bother you. Too loud? Turn on the radio so it's not loud. Go to another room. Allow yourself to hear it faint enough so that you can monitor it without it bothering you.

You don't care. The tantrum not going to last because you don't care. When the child stops, give it a few minutes and then reward him by letting him out, hugging him, and telling him why he had a time out.

It's said you should always love your child and explain to your child after the discipline is done. That's when they're paying attention.

Leaving a tantrum behind so that it doesn't affect you? Now that's Daddy Magic!


Daddy Magic: The Anatomy of the Tantrum

This one is devoted to Queen Bug.

I have a two-year old as well. Tantrums come with the age. The trick is to minimize them, shorten them, and make sure they don't last.

We use thousands of tactics to do this, but the best learned lesson is to understand why the tantrum exists.

We vote for a president because we see it being tallied on our TVs. We want to do what we can to put the right person in office. Likewise, we put together a resume, portfolio, and interview because we want the job. If we knew that we wouldn't get the job and that the interview would do no good, we wouldn't take the interview.

Why would you ever try to do something if it was futile? We wouldn't. Sure, we might start doing it, but as soon as we remember and realize that it's pointless, we'd stop.

That's it. That's the secret.

You have to convince your toddler that their tantrum is futile. The only reason why you do anything is because you know that it works. That's the tantrum. The child knows that throwing a tantrum will yield results.

So that's the first step. You need to figure out what you're giving the child. You might just let the child scream until he is done. I have some relatives who did that. It wasn't really helping much. One time, the child was screaming when a police officer walked up and told the child to stop and to respect the parent. The child went silent. A stranger acting on authority was discipline to that child. That's not the attention the child wanted.

My child screams when we put her in the car. She doesn't want to be there. Sometimes I'll take something away from her or take her out of the room. She throws a tantrum.

I immediately discipline her and distract her. It doesn't take long for her to stop. Why?

Because we have a history. Her life is going to steadily get worse until she stops. If she doesn't stop, she's going to be stuck in bed for the rest of her life with periodic spankings and no one anywhere near her to even know that she's screaming. It sounds like torture, and it is. That's why it never has to happen. =^)

The moment you look at your child in a tantrum when you are not engaging in discipline you just gave in to your child's tantrum. The moment that you stay in the ear shot of your child and he knows you can hear him or feel his tantrum if he's flailing at you, your child's tantrum is succeeding. He may not only want his way. He may just settle for making your life miserable with noises and physical actions. That's fine by him. If you allow that, then you are telling him that tantrums are okay.

The only way to stop a tantrum is to constantly take steps to making his life worse. It's discipline. It won't take him long to learn. When he learns that he has nothing to gain and everything to lose, he'll begin to pull back.

That's the essence of the tantrum. That's how it works. You have to be more stubborn than your child if you want him to learn.

Now that's Daddy Magic.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Daddy Magic: The Pacifier Clip

The pacifier clip is something that attaches to your pacifier. The other end clips to your baby's clothing. You can find these at any baby store.

Some babies don't really need this. However, some babies spit out their pacifiers.

If you find yourself picking up a pacifier off the floor a few times each day, then it's time to go get a pacifier clip.

Save yourself the trouble of picking up that pacifier all day.

This is especially good for sleeping. When you go in at 2 in the morning to put the pacifier back in your baby's mouth and get her to fall asleep again, you want to find the pacifier. You'll always find it when you have it clipped to your baby. Otherwise, it may be under the crib, in a blanket, or anywhere in the room. You don't want to loose pacifiers, and you don't want your baby screaming while you search for it.

That's Daddy Magic!

Note: When your baby is a toddler, she will pull off the clip and fling it even further. That's when you know it's time to stop using the clip.


Daddy Magic: Wrap a blanket over your baby's hand

There is a difficult stage in teaching your baby to sleep. That's when he is getting too strong for the swaddle.

He breaks out of the swaddle.

Unfortunately, he's also too young to have developed hand coordination. As a result, he pulls his pacifier out of his own mouth. So he's screaming at 5 in the morning, because he broke out of his swaddle and pulled his pacifier out of his mouth.

What do you do?

Wrap a blanket over his hand that is pulling out his pacifier. For our daughter, it has been her left hand. He won't be able to pull out his pacifier. You can also accomplish this by putting a blanket barrier on his neck so that he can't get his hand up to his mouth. Another method is to use the pacifiers without the handle at the end (one brand is hollow so you can stick your finger in them and pump the pacifier in his mouth; another brand has a knob at the end). Another method is using mittens or those baby shirts where the sleeves have built-in mittens to cover your baby's hands.

Use any one of these methods to survive this transition and get some sleep! You and your baby need your sleep!

Get sleep? That's Daddy Magic!!!