A toddler tantrum is never a fun thing to endure as a parent. On the one hand, you want to take away what is causing the fury your toddler is feeling because it's hard to see them going through that.
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On the other hand, you don't enjoy the screaming, flailing, and tears that go with a tantrum and likely want it to stop right away for your own sake. Calming your toddler after a tantrum can be a daunting task as well.
It's hard for someone who is that young to calm down without some help. Mindfulness is something that many experts are saying is a viable way to help your toddler calm down. Here's how to use it with your own toddler.
Not For Toddlers
It is important to note that when mindfulness is suggested to help with toddler tantrums it's for a parent, not the child. It's basically impossible to teach a very young child to practice mindfulness, especially in the heat of the moment. However, a parent who uses mindfulness can control their own behavior and reaction in the heat of the moment and keep calm and set a good example for their toddler.
Practice Mindfulness In The Morning
Many experts suggest using mindfulness as soon as you get up. This involves centering your mind and body so that you are living in the moment and paying attention to what's happening in the here and now.
You can do this by meditating, practicing yoga, having a cup of hot tea or simply breathing deeply for a few minutes. By doing this first thing when you get up, you set the tone for the rest of the day.
By teaching yourself to stay in the moment, you can offer your toddler empathy and understanding when they are having a tantrum.
Mindfulness As A Connection
According to experts, learning to be mindful gives you the chance to have a more meaningful connection with your toddler, which can reduce the incidence of tantrums during the day because you can sense when a tantrum is brewing and take steps to stop it in its tracks before it becomes a full-blown attack.
Toddlers thrive on being the center of attention, and when you get better at being mindful you are better able to stay in each moment with your toddler throughout the day.
Your toddler is pretty perceptive and can feel this, even when they don't realize it, and that feeling cements your connection. Having your full attention when it matters can help your toddler keep from needing to throw a tantrum to get your attention.
Build Mindfulness Into Each Day
Your toddler probably spends their life living in the moment, so teaching your toddler to be mindful isn't really necessary because they already are. On the other hand, you probably let your mind wander to other things and get distracted often when you're together.
Maybe you're thinking about how you're going to pay the bills while you walk to the park or you're wondering what to make for dinner when you're looking at picture books together.
By staying mindful and in the present during each of your activities, you are setting a good example for your little one and showing them that being in the moment is an important part of life.
How Mindfulness Changes Your Emotions
If you've ever dealt with a toddler in the midst of a tantrum, you know how frustrating and upsetting it can be for you. When you let your emotions into the mix, it can prolong a tantrum and make it even worse.
Perhaps having a hard time calming your toddler down makes you feel incompetent, or being unable to get your toddler to follow your directions makes you angry. It's completely natural that those emotions get tossed into the situation, but it's no secret that when you react that way, it makes the entire situation worse.
When you learn to be mindful, you can take a breath or a moment to center yourself and get into the frame of mind that allows you to accept that your toddler's tantrum is entirely about them and they need you to help them process their feelings and work through what caused the tantrum in the first place.
In the end, this helps you let go of your feelings and lets you focus on the feelings your toddler needs help dealing with.
There is nothing worse for a parent than a loud, embarrassing tantrum in a public place. Your natural inclination is to become upset and worry about what everyone is thinking. However, you are much better off staying in the moment and shutting out everything else that's going on around you.
When you can block out the judging stares and whispers of the other people in public, you can better focus on what your toddler needs in that moment and help calm the situation and show your toddler how to calm themselves down. You'll be amazed at how much better you are at keeping your toddler calm and getting through a tantrum when you forget about everything but your toddler.
Be Mindful For Yourself Too
In addition to helping your toddler cope during a tantrum, staying mindful helps you as well. Sometimes, as a parent, you need to step back from the situation and give yourself a moment to collect your thoughts and center yourself into the here and now and block out everything else.
If you need to walk away for a moment, make sure your toddler is in a safe place, such as their crib, and walk away. You might feel a bit bad doing this, but experts say that it gives you the ideal opportunity to stay mindful in the situation so that you can give your toddler what they need, rather than letting your emotions control the tantrum.
Toddlers throw tantrums for a variety of reasons, some of which will seem completely ridiculous to you. However, no matter how the tantrum makes you feel, it's vital to stay in the moment for your toddler's sake.
You'll find that when you handle a tantrum with mindfulness, your bond with your toddler will be enhanced, and you'll both feel closer and experience a better connection with one another as the tantrum winds down and you both calm down.
You can't always stop a tantrum, but the way you handle it can help your toddler learn to deal with their own emotions so that the tantrum is finished quickly and you can both get back to your day.
Using mindfulness during tantrums won't be easy, but you'll be so glad you put in the time and effort because it will be good for you and your little one during the tantrum and afterward as well.