Toddler meltdowns! It’s probably one thing that every mom of a toddler dreads. With good reason. I’ve myself been a witness to it once or twice in public places and family gatherings. And I must admit, I’ve often felt sorry for the moms in this situation who are at the receiving end. The judgmental sentiments from onlookers don’t help either – doesn’t she know how to deal with her kid? The brat hasn’t been brought up well! Oh, please just hand over whatever he/she is bawling for! Statements such as these are passed by random strangers, some of whom are not even parents themselves! Give the moms a break, people!
So, What Do You Do When This Meltdown Strikes?
Often, mothers are told to let this rage pass on its own, or move the child out of the scene. But ask any mom who has experienced it and she’ll tell you that it’s easier said than done. Having witnessed this early on, I had braced myself up for what’s coming when my son was slowly graduating to toddler-hood. But, little did I know that no amount of preparation can actually ‘prepare’ you for something as unpredictable as this.
When It Did Strike….
By the time my son was 3, I was fortunate that he hadn’t had any major meltdown episode. However, it wasn’t long before I got a taste of it. It happened on a perfectly ‘normal’ day for my son. I’d fed him well, made sure he had his favorite snacks, and his bladders were emptied too. We had stepped into a shopping mall and all was going well until my son spotted a shiny blue ball in another visitor’s hand who was passing by. And all hell broke loose. He simply wanted one for himself. Not knowing exactly where or how to find one for him, I tried giving him other options. But he refused to budge. I was at a loss as his rage kept increasing. Believe me when I say this that I had beads of sweat rolling down my temple in a fully air-conditioned mall!
What I Did…
Now, spanking him was never an option – it would only aggravate his anger. My husband too tried to distract him but to no avail. The little one just stood his ground. By then, I had sensed that my husband was losing his cool too. That’s when I gathered all my strength, grabbed my son, and headed to the nearest washroom. Mind you, it wasn’t easy at all as he kept wriggling hard to get out of my grip. But I held on. Once inside, I somehow managed to make him sit on the sink and I did this – GAVE HIM A TIGHT HUG!
Yes, that’s right. It’s exactly what I did. My son tried to free himself from my grip, but I continued to hold him in a hug while gently rubbing his back to calm him down. To my surprise, it worked! His screams soon turned into a soft mumble. I started consoling him as gently as possible, telling him of things I’ll get for him – a scoop of ice cream, his favorite toy truck – and reminding him how good a child he was. As he calmed down, I told him he’ll get all the promised things only if he composed himself until we walked out. He agreed. The trick worked! Of course, I did buy him a scoop of ice cream too. He deserved it after all.
How It Worked…
Now, if you are thinking that it was a one-off incident, then let me tell you it wasn’t. Thereafter, I tried this trick several times, that too sans the offer of goodies. Every time my son went into a rage, I’d give him a tight hug (lovingly) and rubbed his back, and it has worked like magic.
We’ve often heard how a mother’s touch works on her child. Maybe this was it. I can vouch for it. Each time I hugged my son, he probably felt loved and understood, and this helped calm down his rage too. What’s more? Our bond has gotten stronger over time and he often shows a willingness to adhere to my instructions in public.
Are you a mother of a toddler too? How have you managed to get your child out of the toddler rage/tantrum? A loving hug worked wonders for me and my child. Will you try this simple trick too?