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  • She Says

A tot throws tantrum in front of Barack Obama. Tips to tame it here!

  • IWB Post
  •  May 27, 2015


This photo of Barack Obama, reacting to the tot’s tantrum was trending on twitter. It was favourited almost 6000 times and retweeted more than 4000. It also triggered in our office… no, not the tantrum, but the vivid discussion on how to tame such blasts of the cutie pies. Parents, stay alert!

Before we move on over this lovely shot, and not so lovely situation, we need to say a word about its heroine – Claudia Chaudhary, banging the Red Room carpet with her fists in displeasure. The two-year-old is a daughter of the journalist Laura Moser. Claudia chucked a tantrum during preparations for an official White House Passover dinner.

A picture tweeted by Claudia’s uncle Benjamin Moser – a columnist at The New York Times – found a lot of love online and soon appeared in worldwide media including Sky News, Britain’s Independent and the New York Daily News. Another, somewhat better-behaved child looks on with what we can only assume is embarrassment and disgust.

Here, we should stop. Embarrassment and disgust that most parents and onlookers experience at the very moment of a tantrum is absolutely wrong way to handle the situation.

2 Big Don’ts!

  • Do NOT try to reason with a raging toddler. This is an exercise in frustration for everyone, mostly you. They have no sense of — or patience for — reason, and, frankly, why do you want to make your own headache worse?
  • Don’t give in. It sets a precedent, and your child will just try it again next time (hey, it worked last time, right?).
  • Master the art of distraction. This is the key to EVERYTHING.

Here are few more tantrum-taming techniques shared by one Mommy. They look really sensible — and one is bound to work on your kid! Excerpts from the article by ABBEY WESTBURY:

  • Just breathe. I have a friend who calms her little one down by breathing slowly. It takes a minute or two, but eventually, her tot starts breathing in rhythm with mama, and the tantrum passes.

I do a variation of this with my kids: I hold up a finger, and have them try to blow out the “candle” with a big, slow breath. Then they hold up a “candle,” and I blow it out. This almost always works with my daughter, and occasionally works with my son. He likes it when I blow out the “candle” very hard in his face — or when he huffs and puffs so strongly that it knocks me over.

  • Give up. This is NOT the same as giving in. One good friend tried hard-lining it with her kiddo for months, to no avail. Finally, one day, she sat down in defeat on the sidewalk (she didn’t give him whatever he was screaming for, mind you, she just stopped fighting). Guess who toddled quietly into her lap for a hug?
  • Try a one-two punch approach (no ACTUAL punching involved). Left hook: Blow in his ear. This startles him out of his screaming rut just long enough for you to change the mood. Right jab: Immediately after puffing, do something completely silly (make a funny face, meow as a cat, whatever). If it’s really bizarre, your little one will have to laugh, and voilÝ ! Crisis averted!
  • Whisper. Your kid will have to stop screaming in order to hear you. Whispering the lines of a favorite song or book (or just a repetitive phrase) might get him to listen harder, too.
  • Feed ’em. Maybe he’s just hungry. You know the old adage, “Starve a cold, feed a tantrum.” Or something like that.
  • Whip out your bag of tricks. The novelty of a sparkly new something is an excellent way to distract your little love from whatever frustration is causing him to go crazy. My husband calls this the “Ooh, look! Goldfish!” tactic. So keep a small, portable bag full of games, stickers, feathers etc. Just think of it as an emergency go bag — without the dehydrated food rations and waterproof matches.

And if you don’t happen to have your bag handy, you can use other “toys,” such as your smartphone, which you can load up with a few easy, bright apps for kids.

No smartphone? Jingle your keys. Toddlers love keys. Also wallets and purses, and anything else they’re not allowed to explore. Oh, but if you’re in public, don’t offer the wallet or purse unless you want to chase the contents all over the floor in front of snickering passersby.

  • Ignore it. (My personal favorite go-to tactic.) Just let the tantrum run its course and pretend it’s not happening. Anyone in the grocery store who might be casting angry glares, frankly, deserves to suffer through it. They were children once and will likely have children of their own, eventually. Anyone who HAS children is ignoring you with extreme sympathy. Look around. Most people are wearing commiserating smiles.

Note: If, while ignoring him, you walk away from your small banshee, just keep him in your line of sight, and make sure there’s nothing around (stacks of canned tomato sauce, barbeque skewers, etc.) that might actually hurt him.

  • Invest in a package of industrial-strength earplugs. Just as an added measure of security. If you can’t hear it, it’s not really happening, right?

Huh? What did you say? I can’t hear you over the screaming.

We love her advice! Dear Mommies, share your tantrum-coping techniques in comments.

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