Please help. My 10 month-old has begun throwing serious fits. He screams at the top of his lungs. He normally does it when he wakes up in the morning or when I am trying to get him to take his bottles. Do you have any suggestions?

I don't have many child rearing books I am a fan of...but The New First Three Years is really excellent. It suggests that the first three years are the most important of life (in all truth, I think that whatever age your child is "now" is the most important time but I like to read about how important the first few are because some days it doesn't feel that way).

One main idea is to prevent the demand cry - by giving the most attention when they are happily playing - instead of when they are crying. One way I interpreted this: if my baby started crying in his crib I would casually enter the room - not even looking at him - as if though the sunlight brought me in - not the crying. Once I did "notice" I would try and cheer them up in the crib (ie. playing peek a boo) before I got them out. And the second their little frown cracked into I smile I swoop them up with a "What a happy boy!"

Now here's the shocker...the author suggests that preventing the terrible two's and tantrums is possible (and personally, I think that if terrible two's are nothing compared to terrible three's if you haven't figured it out). There are a lot of suggestions - but one main thing is really sticking to your word. If you say I'll play with you in a minute - do. And if you say no more cookies and you are in the grocery store and tears have started - still don't get the cookies. Stick to your word - no matter what!

Here's the stinky thing, little ones will throw little tantrums - and its best to let it run its course - in other words ignore, ignore, ignore. I know that one of the best tools is to distract a fussy kid but I wouldn't use it here. Once a tantrum begins just walk away. You could try distract them a few minutes later by going into their bedroom and starting to play with their toys without them...have a lot of fun, "Mr. Garbage Truck can you smash all this garbage - crunch, munch," & other various boy noises that are untypeable.

But if it always is at the same time, I would try switching up the bottle time. Get the bottle out in a different place. Sit on the ground instead of the couch...it sounds like it could be habitual - so you just need to change the routine enough that it feels new.

That's just a start...good luck! Stay patient (that's the hardest part!) And I am sorry I am slow in publishing this - I thought I already had - so if you've already figured out a solution you'll have to let us know what worked!

Painting: Mother and Child by Raphael

1 comment:

Annie said...

can't even begin to tell you how much I needed to read this today. Thank you! You've just inspired me to stick to my guns despite the horrible tantrums at the grocery store (remind me never to walk down the candy aisle again!).