This anger tool can soothe your child during a tantrum
Tantrums are normal, albeit distressing, of being and raising a toddler, according to the National Association of School Psychologists – more than half of young children will have one or more tantrums a week. .
But knowing that doesn’t make those meltdowns any easier to deal with in the moment. Your child is lying on the floor screaming and you feel like you might start screaming at any time too.
Temper tantrums are usually triggered by hunger, fatigue, discomfort, and frustration. They often appear in the second year of life, when children’s language skills begin to develop, but it is difficult to express their feelings and manage them.
“Young children lack the physical, motor and language skills to get what they want, which can naturally lead to frustration,” journalist Paul L. Underwood wrote for The New York Times. “How would you smell if you wanted a spoon, but couldn’t reach the cutlery drawer, and everyone thought you were saying “stool”? »
Small children also want to exercise their independence, which can lead to power struggles with parents and caregivers over clothes, meals, toys, bedtime and more.
“The beauty is that in this difficult moment, a parent demonstrates presence, connection and regulation of modeling.”
– Cassidy Freitas, family therapist
Experts advise parents to stay calm in the face of a tantrum. Your gut reaction, however, might not be so zen. Maybe you have a habit of raising your voice or scolding your child for acting out, which only makes things worse.
A surprisingly simple technique can help you and your child get back to basics: sing them a song. The goal here isn’t so much to stop the tantrum as it is to soothe and connect with your child during a difficult time.
“Singing has a regulating effect on the brain and body for both the singer and the listener,” San Diego family therapist Cassidy Freitas, host of the “Holding Space” podcast, told HuffPost. “Singing can help us regulate ourselves during these difficult times of parenting, allowing us to model self-soothing to our child as well as accessing our communication and connection skills as we help them feel safe. and seen in a difficult time.”
It doesn’t matter what you sing — or how much you sing — Freitas said. It can be a beloved song that already exists or a song that you have composed for such occasions.
“The song can include words that help tell what they’re going through, name a feeling, elicit laughter, remind them of their goodness, and create an opportunity to connect,” she said. “The beauty is that in this difficult moment, a parent demonstrates presence, connection and regulation of modeling.”
On her Instagram account, Freitas posted a video explaining this technique to parents and shared the invented song she uses with her own children, especially her middle child.
It goes like this: “I love you / I love you / All the parts of you / Perseverance/ Determination/ You are very goal-oriented. (You can replace your child’s nurturing but good qualities.)
Freitas said she finds singing to be more effective once her children are ready for a hug. She will ask them if this is the case. If they say yes, she hugs them and cuddles or pats them as she sings, repeating the song several times.
“Those are parts of him that I don’t want him to darken or dull or feel ashamed of,” Freitas said in the video. “I will still set a limit. But I want him to know that I love those parts of him. And I hope he starts to internalize that in those moments.
Some children, however, may need more time before they are ready to be held during what Freitas calls these “high-emotional times.” Or maybe they would prefer not to be touched at all.
“With my eldest, I would give her some physical space (but stay close and present) and let her know I was there for a hug when she was ready while she let her feelings out,” said writes Freitas on Instagram.
Watch Freitas’ video above for more tips on how to implement this parenting tool so you’re ready whenever the next “big thrill moment” comes along.