Seven Tips for a Calmer Toddler

By nature, toddlers aren't calm creatures. They are excitable and bursting with emotion. Very often, these emotions turn into what are referred to as 'tantrums'. I personally feel that by calling them tantrums, we put toddlers in a guilty spot. We blame them for not being able to manage emotions. But that's something even we as adults fail at doing.

That's why the best thing to do is to accept them for what they are. Whatever little we as parents can do to help toddlers feel settled and calm, goes a long way in having a peaceful home. This is not always possible, though, and you should be prepared for outbursts. Yes, your toddler will get upset sometimes, but it's important for you to stay rooted and let their emotions subside.

My tips below may not for an agitated toddler (though they are worth a try), but for to help them feel more relaxed and calm in general. 

Some ways in which you can help your toddler stay in a calmer state of mind.

Here are seven tips that can help your toddler get into a calmer state of mind:

1. Allow messy play

Toddlers love making messes, so just let them. I find that painting and playing with colours is calming for my toddler, and I know it makes him feel better, especially when the day has been rough. Try and make some kind of sensory or colour play a part of your routine. The benefits of sensory play are numerous, and most often, they can be set up easily with simple materials. 

2. Teach them to ask for help

You may not realize it, but toddlers don't ask for help automatically. They are not always aware of when they need a helping hand, because they're so keen on doing things themselves. It is important to let them learn to be independent, but instead of just taking over when they can't accomplish a task, ask them if they need help. By doing this consistently, you will teach them to ask for help when they need it, and this will reduce many frustrations in future.

3. Stop often to talk or just hug

Make it a habit to routinely drop whatever you are doing and talk to your toddler, or just hold them. Toddlers often get upset when they feel that they aren't getting the attention they want, so give them a nod whenever you can. And a hug is just perfect! 

4. Give them a chore 

Toddlers get immense satisfaction from doing things by themselves, and especially if they feel that they are helping around the house. The task can be real (like putting clothes in the laundry basket) or something made up (like putting spoons in a tumbler). The idea is to keep them busy. 

5. Go outside

A five-minute walk can be a big mood changer. Sometimes, when emotions are running high, it's a good idea to head outside in the fresh air. You may not have time to take them to a playground everyday, but a stroll around the block can be refreshing. If you have a backyard, just let them loose!

6. Count to ten, or sing

One of the things that upsets toddlers the most is when they have to wait for something. It can be frustrating for the parent too, when the child constantly asks for something that will take time to happen, such as dinner being ready. I like to tell my son to count to ten, or we sing a nursery rhyme. Sometimes, we do it more than once. It can be a good distraction, and lightens the mood.

7. Start the day with a long cuddle

Toddlers are often at their grumpiest in the mornings. If you can, squeeze in an extra few minutes to spend time with them soon after they wake up. My toddler likes to carried around a little when he wakes up, and that makes him happier. Your toddler may be different, and may be grumpy at another time of the day, so do what works for you.

The goal isn't to act only when the upsetting behaviour surfaces, but to keep a tab on emotions which can get out of hand. By constantly being in touch with your toddler's emotions, you can be aware of the things that frustrate him or her.

This is by no means an easy task, and it can take a long time to deal with your specific challenges. But as you tune in your child's fears, frustrations, and temperament, you'll know what to do to avoid a meltdown.

If you found this useful, check out these reassuring phrases for toddlers, and tips for getting your toddler to listen.

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