The course resumed after a two-week break. We discussed about how the CRUCIAL framework helped us in managing tantrums and shared our stories.
We also learned the key words to remember in coping with a tantrum – SENSE:
(N)ame the feelings
(S)upport, be there, and don’t suppress your child’s feelings
(E)xchange or give options
As there are quite a number of things to remember, I conclude several key strategies from Dr Laura Markham’s book to make things simpler:
1. Regulate my emotions – be in control of my emotions and take good care of my well-being
2. Foster connection – make an effort to play and spend time with E. I’m trying to commit to a 10-minute Ewan time everyday. Carry out playful parenting games and activities.
3. Coach, instead of control – validate their feelings, respect and give options.
We also looked into tricky sleep situations in toddlers. Toddlercalm recommends the three-step bedtime ritual:
1. Expectations – . Setting a bedtime routine
2. Cues – Adding cues such as smell and sound to trigger sleep
3. Comforters – Giving a favourite lovey conditioned with mom’s scent can be a powerful sleep aid
Another topic explored revolves around child-led play:
► Dedicate 10 minutes a day for a child-led play session with your toddler. Put away your phone or anything that can distract you. Give undivided attention. You may switch on a timer and let your child know that once the alarm goes off, it’s time to stop playing. Let your child choose the number of minutes he wants and let him start the timer. Once the session is over, hug and thank your child and tell him you look forward to playing with him again tomorrow.
► Treasure basket – an example of child-led play which can keep the child occupied for hours. Gather a mix of natural and everyday items in a basket for your toddler to discover. The items may include a natural sea sponge, pastry brush, spatula, large feather, pinecone, silky fabric, old purse, tinfoil and things that can stimulate their sensory skills.
► Story sack – another activity which you can do with your toddler. Choose a story book that your child is familiar with. Get a basket or sack, go around the house and hunt for the things that correlate with the story. You may tell out the story with the items or puppet style.
Last but not least, we learned that using consequences can be a good tool to empower your child in making choices. However, due to brain development for varying ages, this method is only suitable for kids aged three and above. For instance:
► If a child won’t eat, let him feel hungry.
► If a child won’t put on his coat, let him feel cold.
► If a child won’t wear his shoes, let him walk barefoot and feel the ground.
► If a child spills his drink, he must clear it up.
► If a child ignores instructions when using a scooter, the scooter is carried and they must walk the rest of the journey.
► If siblings argue over a toy, the toy is removed for 5 minutes.
► If a child won’t get ready for bed, he loses one story.
► If a child won’t sit down for dinner, he does not get TV time after dinner that day.
IMPORTANT: Always remember that your intention is to help your child learn, not punish. Saying things like “See?” or “I told you so!” will only make him feel resentful. The experience should be short too. Instead, once your child experience the consequences, offer him words of empathy such as “It’s cold today, isn’t it?” or “You’re hungry now, aren’t you?” This is not giving in to them, but rather to let them experience a natural consequence of their decision.