remind me how to deal with a toddler who doesn't know what she wants?

(12 Posts)

dd is 2.3. She is at that stage where she wants one thing, then doesn't want it quite like that, and goes into complete meltdown at the slightest thing. Eg, she is playing playdoh with her brothers (nearly 5 and 2.3), she puts her playdoh in the squashing thing, wants it out again, I can't get quite all of it out and her world falls apart. Or she wants milk on her cereal and I pour it in slightly the wrong place: meltdown.

I can't anticipate all of this, I can't treat her specially compared to her brothers, and I feel bad when they are subjected to her screaming, eg in car on way home from park yesterday because her hands are cold, which is because she kept taking her gloves off.

I am on my own with the three of them today. How do I deal with meltdowns? I don't remember ds1 being this bad, at least, not this loud, and ds2 reacts completely differently.

tumbletumble Fri 28-Dec-12 08:46:37

Try to keep calm and ignore the tantrums. The milk is in the wrong place? Oh well, the rest of us are going to sit here and eat our breakfast together and not pay you any attention. You can join us when you are ready to behave nicely.

Don't worry too much about 'treating her specially' if it means preventing a meltdown, as long as you are consistent about the important things. All children need to be treated differently to an extent.

OK, ignore ignore ignore. Not possible when DP is here because she is so sensitive to noise, but possible today. Otherwise, when I need her to be quiet quickly, any suggestions?

Svrider Fri 28-Dec-12 09:05:55

Why do you need to keep a 2yo quiet for dp op??confused

tumbletumble Fri 28-Dec-12 09:11:42

Sorry OP, there is no way of getting a tantrumming toddler to be quiet quickly except give her what she wants - not to be recommended unless you want to encourage future tantrums. The noise sensitive person needs to leave the room or learn to accept the noise!

plantsitter Fri 28-Dec-12 09:20:44

Distraction often works at getting them to shut up. However I think (and I know how much of a pain in the arse toddler tantrums are) she should be allowed a bit of a tantrum now and again - it's how they learn about their emotions. Your partner will have to suck it up I'm afraid.

As for treating her differently from her brothers, of course you can - she's 2! Presumably they are allowed to do things she isn't?

Well one of her brothers is the same age (they're twins), but they have very different personalities.

Keeping her quiet for DP is just to keep the peace really. She is very loud, very high pitched, and goes on for ages if ignored. It makes my head hurt, but DP just can't cope with the noise. Sometimes if I explain to dd that she needs to be quiet or I can't understand what she wants she instantly calms down and explains clearly what she wants, but then she has got what she wanted through the tantrum, IYSWIM?

Oh, and distraction works well for ds2 - if you can make him laugh he'll forget the tears - but not really for dd who seems to need a resolution, even if it's just her saying sorry and getting a cuddle.

plantsitter Fri 28-Dec-12 09:43:46

Sounds to me like you know what you're doing, then. If she needs a resolution then you're not going to get her to be quiet without one (and, frankly, nor should you). Often I think if they feel you're not listening they get more and more hysterical.

For what it's worth, I don't think that asking her to tell you calmly what she wants is letting the tantrum win - it's telling her the best way to ask for what she wants.

Good luck today!

I absolutely do not feel like I know what I'm doing, but thanks for the confidence! They are so different to ds1 (and each other) that it's like learning all over again, but with less time to give to each child.

I will go with letting her scream her frustration a bit, then try and get her to tell me calmly. Doesn't always work, but perhaps lots of encouragement when it does will help.

plantsitter Fri 28-Dec-12 10:11:26

Just as I finished writing that last post my exactly 2 year old shouted in my face that she wasn't going to say sorry to her big sister for whacking her in the head unprovoked (obviously she said this in 2 yr old gobbledegook), so not sure I qualify to give advice! Except that I know how utterly confounding 2 yr olds can be!

Ha, yes ds1 was like this. Would not say sorry. Dd and ds2 seem good at it though, perhaps because they've had so much practice. Glad to be reminded I'm not the only one with contrary toddlers. Sometimes, because 2 is so much easier than 1, I am somehow surprised when it's not actually easy.

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