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?


Queen Bug said...

Changing the subject hasn't worked for us yet. Neither has walking away. Tantrums are rough. We're slowly learning to avoid what makes her actually have a tantrum. If she doesn't want to eat dinner, we don't tell her it's dinner time. We just get her and put her in her chair. If there is something she needs to do. We don't give her an option, we don't give her a warning, we just do it.

Queen Bug said...

Just an update...

Blowing a whistle.. not hard, but gently, whipped her into shape! I guess that's the kind of distraction she needs. We'll soon see with out #2, what kind of tantrums she'll have!

I hope you keep writing!

Queen Bug said...

I'm back...

So, what's the Daddy Magic way of Potty Training? ;o)

Anonymous said...

Hello! :)