What do you do when your toddler is melting down and nothing seems to work? This was the question that fell on my home late last night, another hard night. My husband and I as of late have had a hard time with our 2.5 year old daughter. She has had hard tantrums ever since this summer, they just grow and grow into more drama than we have had with our other three older children. We often worry that her tantrum will cause her harm even.
After little sleep last night our little night owl was up early today while her other 3 siblings slept in. Nothing made this little girl happy, not cuddling in her bed, or our bed. Not any kind of breakfast, not play, nothing. She was set on flipping out, flailing around, hitting and kicking us and banging her head on things. I must admit that after all food had been refused and nothing was working my husband turned her high chair to face a wall to wait out the tantrum. This failed. I then went about trying all those things to calm her that normally work, nothing did, after getting kicked in the face I resorted to putting her in timeout in her room. I admit we had not done time outs with her before as we do not think she will understand them or that they would be effective in a way that is good for her spirit. I perhaps then should not have expected a time out in her room to work, I tried any though as I was at wits end. Maybe it was me that needed a moment to think.
Finally it came to me, something so simple. Time for a walk. My fibromyalgia being worse in the morning I asked my DH to take her for a walk. As soon as baby saw the stroller her attitude changed and she calmed down, and got right in and settled. It was what she needed. I can’t tell you why she needed it but she did. It was better for her and us than any kind of time out and worked like nothing else did. It was a peaceful solution to a hard puzzling situation and I wish I had thought of it sooner. I have long known that walks have been a good calming tool for her but sometimes I forget or sometimes I simply want her to do what we expect her to do and not have to change plans and suddenly have to go for a walk. We do not live alone in this home though and our goals are not simply to have everyone’s needs met in ways that are planned out by us. Sometimes though, it is hard to remember that we do not have to parent as we had been parented, we do not have to parent as others do.
Sometimes I need the reminder that letting our children show us what they need and how to meet those needs is the right way for us to parent. That it is ok, that it does not mean they are in charge because this is not a competition it is not a power struggle. We are living together, growing together, and we need to work together. Our toddler doesn’t yet have all the abilities to understand things the way we do, we have to help her and we have to be open to having her help us figure things out because the fact is, we do not have the ability to always understand her needs right away either.
Goodness I do hope we get to sleep tonight. If today brings 10 walks though and tonight too, well at least they will be peaceful and help meet her needs. I am so thankful to have my husband on the same page about this. So thankful too that he is in great shape!