Raise your hands if you run out of options of calming your kids, especially toddlers. When I was a new Mom, I just couldn’t keep up with telling them ‘sorry’ at every given tantrum session. Each time any of them was upset, I’d have to bribe with candies, juice or any snack; which by the way wasn’t a good thing. My kids got smarter and would throw tantrums so they could get their reward. So they even got upset for literally anything just to earn some snacking. Well, Mummy got smarter. Na me born dem. I had to restrategize and here are some unconventional funny skills I use now and I must say, it’s working. So instead of using Ipads and snacks every time to pacify them (which is not right), here are some tricks you can do like I am doing right now.
- Find an anonymous ‘scapegoat’ and pretend to take sides with child: In my case, it’s a lady called ‘Aunty Belema’. Aunty Belema is a lady who usually did my daughter’s hair in Nigeria and my daughter’s last experience with her left her memories because of the tightness of the hair. Since then, my daughter saw Aunty Belema as the villain, no matter how I convinced her that Aunty Belema was a sweetheart. So I found out anytime my daughter cried and I asked her who hurt her, she’d say ‘Aunty Belema’. That was how this lady came into the picture. Everything bad, she blames it on Aunty Belema. If I scold her and she gets terribly upset and inconsolable, I just pretend to be calling on Aunty Belema and scolding her for making my daughter cry. I’d pacify her and tell her I will deal with Aunty Belema and she happily finds solace in me knowing I want to deal with Aunty Belema. My son followed same way. Problem solved. I’m sorry Aunty Belema, someone had to be the bait. Lol
- Have a pretend Law system: From the top of my head, I said, “The Children’s Police is coming!” and I was shocked at how fast my kids went from 100 level tantrum to 0. I held on to that trick like I hold on to my last pack of Naija Maggi in diaspora. It’s been working and I can’t tell you how much it’s helped. As my daughter was about to turn 4, she was sensing Children’s Police is just imaginary but I showed her a couple of videos of cops taking people away and that fortified my lie-truth.
- Suggest the most rejuvenating idea to them during tantrum: In our case, it’s Shower time! It depends on the time and temperature of the day at which the tantrum was displayed. If it’s in the hot afternoons, I just scream “Shower time!”, they speedily switch from crying to being excited to take a shower. If the timing for a shower is inconvenient, you just bribe them with taking a walk outdoors.
- Pick on something nice about them and distract them from what caused their tantrum: In the midst of their wailing, I say things like, ” See how dazzling your teeth are. A fly is about to perch on them”. Now she focuses on not letting the fly into her mouth. For my boy, I’d say, ” That fly is about to get You, let’s get it” and the rest is history.
- Letting them cry, come back to them later like you were oblivious to what had happened: If you were actually the cause of them being upset and they seem inconsolable, sometimes ignore and go about your duties. When they see you ain’t giving in to their demands, they’d want to endear themselves to you but don’t know how to express it. When you see that sign, just call them up and ask who caused them to be upset. Since my kids won’t want to blame me at this time, they just put the blame on the first point- “Aunty Belema!!” Lol. And that’s how we kiss and make up.
I remember growing up, my Mom would just threaten to take me to stay with my Grandma and tell me all the chores I’d do and I will just freeze and behave. What were the pacifying tricks played on you and what are you now playing on your kids?
Happy New Year!!
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