All about throwing tantrums

Every parent’s nightmare is for their child to sit down on the floor and start crying in a way that has everyone around them covering their ears. And what would be even more embarrassing than this happening in a very public place?
So what to do? Is there a way to avoid this situation?
Please see below on how I have managed these situations throughout my career.

1) Five years ago on the way home I had a 2.5-year-old and a 7-month-old with me (it was the time when I had just started treading on this career path and was still a trainee in a way). Little one was in a baby buggy while the older child was walking next to me. Within a very short period of time, in the middle of a street with thunder clouds closing in, the 2.5-year-old decided to show his discontent after I refused to carry him home. When first his steps slowed down and he started crying, then in a millisecond he had thrown himself on the street and was screaming as if there was no end. This was my first contact with a proper tantrum.
What did I do? Everyone passing by tried to find out what was going on (to which the child started screaming even more and even louder), while casting proper angry glares towards me for letting the child cry. At that point I had no idea what to do or how, so I picked up the child, threw him over my shoulder and pushed the baby buggy with my other hand towards home.

2) On the way home from the day group with a girl who had just turned two, everything was all good until she decided she wanted to be carried. Considering she had quick feet on her own, I said no, to which the little girl started crying which obviously sounded throughout the whole block. At some point she had found a small stone she could sit on after she had stopped wriggling around like a worm.
What did I do? Compared to my previous story, I was a little smarter this time around and stayed calm. I sat down on the side of the pavement, took out a book from my bag and started reading. After 10 minutes the little girl came and sat down next to me, said she is finished and wished to go home. She gave me a big hug, I wiped her nose clean and we went home.

3) Most recent tantrum happened a couple of days ago. For almost 2 months now I am working for a family in which they have a little girl just over a year. That day she got so angry because I offered her a broccoli-pea-potato-fish puree with cheese. She refused to taste it and wanted something else from the fridge. I’m afraid I do not prepare various dishes for every single meal, and if they do not wish to eat, I do not force them to. Little girl screamed as much as she could, hands in fists.
What did I do? I sat down on the floor and explained that when she feels hungry, then food will be ready for her – to which she got even more hysterical. Then I went to the other room, sat down on the floor and closed my eyes (and thought about what kind of tiling to use in the bathroom). Little one of course followed me and kept expressing her discontent with the situation, but she must’ve been surprised to find me sitting there with my eyes closed. She then tried (without any sound) to open my eyes with her little fingers. When I opened my eyes, she started screaming again. After 25 minutes she picked up her toy bunny and came to give me a hug, after which we went to eat.

What to do during tantrums?
– Stay calm, so calm as if the cries do not exist
– Get down to the child’s level
– Make sure your tone is calm and if they get even more hysterical, then slow down your speech even more
– Do not be affected by what others may think
– Do not give in to the child, try to make them think of something else
– Overall spend as much time with the child as you can and play with them – this means give them your attention and listen to your child
– Make a joke that you know will make them laugh
– Find out the reason for this tantrum, for smaller children it can be as simple as being dehydrated and needing some water
– At the end of every tantrum make sure you hug and then both of you can happily continue with the day
– You can never yell at the child or punish them physically (shake them, tug at their hair, hit them and so on)

Q: Can you punish the child after the tantrum?
NO, NEVER!
Child learns to express their emotions and express themselves, and to punish them for this would be extremely unfair.

NB! Tantrums can happen at any point of the day, you cannot grade your skills or anyone else’s parenting skills based on this.

Have a tantrum-free Tuesday,
Kadi

Whether you are sushing your baby to sleep or once again find yourself giving them a bath at 10pm in the evening – not to worry, Kadi is coming to the rescue with some small tips on how to make your life easier.

I’m just going to dive straight into it.

Babies should usually wake up around 7-8am and then it’s time for breakfast. For those who wish to start giving additional food, I would advise to look towards carrot puree (least likely to cause allergic reactions, but please do be careful if either of the parents have ever had an allergic reaction towards carrots).
After breakfast it would be a good time for fun activities or for a nice walk outside.
Lunch could be somewhere between 10:30 and 12pm, depending how long the child has been awake for and when they woke up in the morning.
Lunch nap could be somewhere around noon and then 1-3 hours of sleep depending on the child.
After the nap it’s time to eat something again. For children who eat solid foods, they could have something like an apple compote or some fruit.
A smaller child would probably need a 30-minute beauty nap around 4pm again and after this it would be nice to go ahead with another walk outside.

For babies, bath time ideally should be around 5.30pm and 6pm. Bathing of course does not mean a big washing up and you most certainly do not need any soaps or other chemicals. If the water is a little coarse, drop some breast milk into the bathing water which will neutralise the water and will make the baby’s skin soft. So that the baby would last the bathing session, you could breastfeed 5 minutes beforehand or give them 30ml milk solution.

After the bath it would be time for dinner and for this keep the TV completely off or on very quiet. The lights should be dimmed. And at 7pm it’s time for sleep.

Now here I usually get a lot of questions about the baby not falling asleep on their own, either they scream or start throwing tantrums. Then it’s time for a small blanket or a dummy. If you have a small special blanket, then the child will probably play with it for a while and then will fall asleep. If they do start screaming, you can pick them up and calm them down (do not turn on any bright lights), and place them back into the bed. It may take a couple of hours before the baby finally falls asleep (a good exercise for your arm muscles), and I would advise to have the dad to help with this. The best solution would be to leave this to the dad.
If they do not want a dummy and you do not have a small special blanket, then I would really advise to get one. And you do not have to spend humongous amounts of money on this, just go to a fabric shop and ask for a softer fabric around 10x10cm (key tip: if you put the fabric against your face and it feels nice, then you can rest assured that the baby will like it as well). You can also be creative and make it into a specific shape like a triangle or anything that you like – why not keep it fun?
Tip for those who breast feed – drop some breast milk on the blankie and your child will accept it faster.

Q: How to get the baby to sleep in their own cot/bed?
Practice with lunch naps before and put the t-shirt you have worn during the day around the mattress. It will smell like you and is very comforting for the baby.

Q: What about the bedroom temperature?
As the body temperature will rise when it’s cold, then I’m afraid it will not cool down in case the bedroom is too hot. This may be a reason why the baby keeps waking up. The temperature should be around +16 and +20 Celsius. You will sleep better as well in a cooler room so keep this in mind.

Q: What happens if the baby starts throwing tantrums after a couple of hours?
If the baby does not wake up but keeps moving around, then you do not need to take them out of their bed or feed them. Let them be. Babies have the same sleep phases as adults do.

If you now read this and were freaked out as your bathing time is around 9pm or 11pm and your baby gets to bed after midnight, then you can be sure that the baby is overtired and the day is too long for them.

Q: How to get the child into a schedule you wish?
Definitely do not change everything overnight, start by shifting these every day by 5 or 10 minutes until you reach the time that suits you. If you have perfected the schedule, then it takes the baby up to 2 weeks to get used to this.
You can also use this to move the nap times or feeding times.

Q: What to do when a child wakes up in the middle of the night?
You do not have to do anything before they start screaming, as quite often they will fall asleep on their own. If you do wish to stop the night-time feeding, you should shift these times 5-15 minutes per day onwards or backwards.

Q: And what if they have additional food?
Babies who have additional foods, the morning breakfast option could be a good porridge and either breastmilk or milk formula. For lunch I would advise a vegetable puree, and after the lunch nap maybe opt for something sweeter, like a fruit puree. For dinner vegetable puree once again. The best foods are prepared at home.

Q: How much food should I give?
First get the baby accustomed to different tastes and textures by giving them half a teaspoon to try. If they would like more, trust your instincts and give a little bit more.

Q: How to understand if the baby is full from the puree?
If the baby eats well, but at some point starts pushing the spoon away or turns their head away, then this is a sign that their stomach is full. Do not be surprised if at once they eat 200-300ml of puree.

All of this at once can be a little overwhelming. So what to do when you are trying to sush the baby to sleep or try another trick from your tricks arsenal, but you are now exhausted and nothing helps? Then breathe in and out, and go back to basics. Read the top part again where I explained a little about how the best way would be to pick them up from their cot when they start screaming, comfort them until they calm down and then place them back in the cot.

If you go out for a stroll with the buggy and the baby cries, then do not let it stop you from that walk as the baby will fall asleep within 5-10 minutes. Do not worry about what others think, as it is your child and you know it will pass.

Q: What to start with?
Make yourself a plan what you wish to change in the beginning and take one step at a time. Keep in mind that it is not good to stress yourself with this either.

I do always say that children are given to this world to teach us patience. And the second thing I say, like in one of the classical Estonian movies, is that if you can’t do the whole thing, do half of the exercise. If your daily schedule does shift up to 45 minutes, then this is completely alright.

NB! Keeping in mind the baby’s safety, do not use a blanket which the baby can pull over his or her head, but use a sleeping bag instead, where the arms are free and body covered.

All questions are more than welcome and I will answer these with pleasure.

Kadi

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