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Taming your toddler and their tantrum

by Sesame Lane Admin on 29/10/2018 8:43:38 AM
According to child expert Maggie Dent, toddlers struggle to make positive neurotransmitters also known as the “feel good” brain chemicals like serotonin (calming), dopamine (excited and engaged) and endorphins (feeling happy and joyful).

On the flip side, they already produce cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline (hyperactive). When a toddler is dealing with high levels of cortisol it can lower their language function, some children even become quite upset and get worried and be clingy, while others become defensive and over-reactive, which unfortunately creates more cortisol. Adrenaline is wonderful if you’re in a situation facing a lion or tiger; it activates our flight-or-fight action, providing the body huge amounts of energy to escape life threatening situations. Sometimes children can get an adrenaline rush. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do until you have lessened the amount of adrenaline, possibly by creating some serotonin, dopamine or even some endorphins.
Here are 5 ways we can help our toddler tantrums
  1. Check for unmet needs, are they wet, tired, thirsty, hungry, bored, angry or frustrated. We all function better when we are in a state of peace. Remember that the rage, fear and separation distress system is set up at birth to support a baby’s survival, not to cause their mum and dad great distress. However, designed to ensure that our babies were not eaten by predators or harmed by any other potential danger. These days, the distress systems can be triggered when a door slams loudly, when they are unable to dress themselves, when you walk out of the room unexpectedly or when you cut their toast into four pieces instead of three! (
  2. Take a minute to yourself, stress won’t beat stress, this allows us to act rather than react. Take some time to have a deep breath before approaching the tantrum, this will help you deal with the task at hand in a calming manner with our yelling or screaming at your child yourself.
  3. Try to validate their feelings, no matter how crazy they seem. Acknowledging irrational feelings and allowing your toddler to feel loved is so important, denying or minimising big ugly feelings denies an opportunity to teach our children how to manage their feelings and emotions. 
  4. How can you meet their needs, ask them.
Simply asking your toddler things like:
  • Will a hug help?
  • Offer a drink of water, does that help?
  • Do you feel sink?
  • Let’s go outside
  • Take three deep breaths and think about how you really feel
This might help your toddler develop serotonin and calm down.
  1. Forgive yourself, we’re all human, having fleeting moments of frustrating conflicts with your toddlers are totally normal parts of parenting and some days will manage the tantrums others you may lose the plot and shout and yell with your toddler. That is ok, forgive yourself and apologise to your child just like you would ask for an apology from them for similar behaviour. Finally, enjoy the rest in between, the days can seem very long, but the years are short.