Category Archives: Tantrums

How to get through the Winter Witching Hour

Here it comes you guys – Winter is on its way. Evenings are getting darker and that means a lot more time at home with our babies. 

 

Let’s stay calm. We can get through this. 

 

Honestly, if it were just less sunlight on it’s own, then we could deal. But it feels like the last straw on top of already:

  • being bored out of your mind around 5pm 
  • Not sleeping and being basically half a human
  • Feeling your hormones rage high and low.
  • Watching your identity change completely from who you thought you once were

 

Sound familiar? 

 

And the worst side effect to having a baby in the winter? Watching that door like a hawk waiting for your partner to come home.  When I first realized I was doing that I was mortified. Where was the independent, creative, self-motivated, resourceful woman? What had become of me??

 

So how do we get through this? Just. Start. Dancing.

 

It might sound crazy that I think we can solve all of those things above by putting on a song and moving around. But you’re going to have to trust me on this one. 

 

I promise it’s easy. Find a song that you love dancing to. It doesn’t matter how embarrassing it is or how old it is or how uncool it is. It just has to be the song that gets you excited to move. Since you’re reading this now (before that 5pm low), think of what your song might be and put it in a playlist. Maybe even put three songs in that playlist. 

 

When the sun starts to set, scoop your baby up; put that song on; and go to town. Put all the tasks aside and just let your body move to the beat. 

 

Why exactly will dancing cure our woes?

  1. Music is an endorphin. It actually makes us happy. I know that you’ve experienced this in the past so I don’t need to elaborate. 

 

  1. Moving to the beat gets us out of our heads and into our body. And that gets us into the present moment. It alleviates spiraling into that go-to internal dialogue: “This sucks.” “I’m tired.” “Who am I?” “Where is he?” “What do I do?” “I’m SO tired…”

 

  1. Dancing is a workout. As you know, moving our body – even a little bit strenuously –  energizes us in the long run. It reduces stress and releases endorphins and physical tension.

 

  1. Dancing with our baby brings us in sync with each other. Babies love to dance and move to a rhythm. In fact, they do it on their own from a very early age. When we move them with us to the rhythm of the music, we are sinking up our breathing and our mood, all while holding them close. It’s the closest simulation of the womb. 

 

  1. A dance party is like a reset to your evening. Just try it. You’ll see that that mood that you were feeling a minute ago dissipates into nothing. You might even feel a moment of Celebration. You’ve got a lot to celebrate: You got through the day! 

 

So what’s your favorite dance-party song? The only thing we need to do now is share with each other and the longer our list, the better off we’ll be in that dark when we’re watching the door like a Stepford Wife waiting for her partner to save us. 

 

Instead, let’s save ourselves!

 

Comment below with your jam. Let’s make a “It’s 5pm and winter” playlist that’s 100 songs long. 

 

Have a friend who texts you around 5pm each day? They need this, too. Forward it to them now and have a long-distance dance party.

 

Tell them to sign up here for more words of wisdom:

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Parenting Mistakes Through the Eyes of an 8 Year Old

In today’s Tuesday Tune-In I’m going to give you the secret to parenting. 

It’s true. It makes all the difference. And if you ask your kids, they’ll say I’m right. It was actually my son who really drove this lesson home for me. A couple of years ago, he started writing a book that he called “Parenting Mistakes Through the Eyes of an 8 Year Old.”

Clearly, he had a whole book’s worth of material. 

 

That said, Lesson One was simple and important for us all to learn. Actually all the chapters came down to one main idea:

 

Be playful.

 

Or in his own words: “Parents need to be more silly, lighter about things.” When I asked him what he meant, he said, ”Let’s do a role play.” 

 

Example 1: Not Playful

He went to lie on the couch and told me to call him to go to the shower the way I normally do. I did, in a straightforward way,  and he said, “I don’t want to go.” And kept lying there. I said, “Please go to the shower so that we can have dinner.” He said, ”In a few minutes.”

 

Indeed, that was an annoyingly good illustration of how it normally goes.

 

Then he said, ”Okay, let’s try it again. This time, try to be more FUN about it. Find a way to turn it into a game.”

 

Example 2: Not Playful Enough

This time, I called him again with kind of a silly voice and did a silly dance along with it. 

 

He said, ”That’s not it. Try again.”  

 

(Side note: do the rest of you have parenting coaches at home or am I the only one? Is this retribution to me being a kind of a parenting coach?)

 

Example 3: Playful

Finally, I went over and said, ”I’m going to tickle you if you don’t get up right away and run into the shower. You better go quick!” Immediately, he started laughing. Then I tickled him and said, ”Let’s see if we can jump the whole way there.” He got up and started jumping.

 

That day, he reminded me of a lesson that we all need to keep in mind ALL of the time. Our kids want to play. They want to have fun with us. They want to be silly and they want US to be silly. And this is for ALL ages, from tiny babies to attitude tweens.

 

Here’s the thing.

 

Things tend to be very serious all the time in our very important worlds. We get caught up in day-to-day tasks that weigh down on us. Our kids see us working very hard to get things done – to feed them, bathe them, make sure they’re healthy, make sure we get our own stuff done, and put them to sleep. We can get pretty bogged down in a mode of checking things off of our list. 

 

So – We all need a reminder. And I am a girl who loves a challenge. 

 

I challenge you to be playful. 

 

See if you can turn small moments into a game and bring out your silly side whenever possible.

 

But there’s more to this. I’m not just suggesting to be silly. I’m recommending you to do it when you least want to. Right at that moment when your kid pushes back the most – when they are at their most intolerable, irrational and defiant.

 

It’s right at that moment – when WE may be our most tired, most frustrated, and most spent – that we need to remember this approach.

 

Here’s the scenario: You’re trying to get your toddler’s shoes on to get out the door. You’re late to wherever you’re going. Your child has already wanted to change outfits three times, has thrown tantrums over lunch and does NOT want to put on shoes.

 

You just want it to end. A part of you wants to force the damn shoes on the toddler and get going. But you also know that if you do that there are probably 3 more tantrums waiting around the corner.

 

You have no resources left. You feel depleted.

 

This is when I want you to dig even deeper and find that playful place within you. Find a way to be funny, to be silly, to turn it into a game, and to play.

 

I promise you that you will get out of the door so much faster than if you force it.

 

Now I want to hear from you. What are some ways that you turn a tough moment into a fun moment? Comment and don’t hold back because that is when we all need it the most.

 

Know a parent having a rough week? Forward this silly solution to them.

 

Finally, know a book publisher? Send me their info. I think this could be a huge hit . Seriously.

 

Here’s a way to get your friends on this list so they’ll have the secret to parenting too:

Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!

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Ready? Let’s tackle tantrums

Dear tuned-in parents,

To begin today’s Tuesday Tune-In, I want to tell you how my morning went. Spoiler: It has nothing to do with music and everything to do with tantrums – a parent’s least favorite sound.

Everything was normal to start. I gave the kids morning hugs – my eldest on the couch, my other son on the floor playing and my daughter in her bed. All was well.

And then something flipped.
Peaceful lapping waves raged into a storm and, yes, a tantrum was brewing.

Listen: Toddler tantrums are not all that different from school-age tantrums. They can look a bit different, with more reasoning available, but they take shape a lot like a toddler kicking and screaming on the floor.

The details are never the important part. Suffice it to say that my son was not getting what he wanted. And I was not prepared to budge in that particular moment. Yelling, door slamming, and aggression, too. And then he found a way to exert his ultimate control -A hunger strike.

So what do we do? Both with our toddlers and with our older kids?

Here’s the simple answer: We give them space to have the tantrum.

Pause for a moment. Let’s consider what this means. I don’t mean we watch them having the tantrum and wait for it to end while we boil inside. I mean we truly give them the space to express their emotions in the only way they can at that moment.

After we’ve tried to reason, emphasize and help; we need to accept.

It helps to remember that tantrums are appropriate.

Our kids are desperately trying to understand how much control they have and where the boundaries are.

They are looking to us to hold up limits so that they can feel safer. They want to know that not everything is possible and that we, their caregivers, will keep them safe.

I always think of the image of a pantomime.
You know how they walk around doing that move with their hands pretending there’s a glass wall. That’s what our babies are doing. Constantly asking: Is this where the wall is?

Parenting educator Janet Lansbury has a way to understand types of tantrums that really resonated with me.

She talks about three types of tantrums for toddlers in her work but I find it fully applicable to even my ten-year-old.

(Because you are all awesome you answered my call for pics of tantrums and delivered big time. So these three types will be accompanied by some real life visuals ala the Tune-iverse.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Types of Tantrums

1. Unarticulated Basic Needs

Overview: The toddler wants something like food water or sleep, but because he is not fully articulate and does not always know to ask for things, he gets to the point where it is too late and now he’s been pushed over the edge. He is too hungry or tired.

Response: In those moments, we empathise and try to give them what they need.

We could say something like: “Wow. I see that you were really hungry and it was hard for you to tell me that.”

I don’t know about you but my big kids definitely get to that point as well – and they can speak just fine.

In this situation, we can try to stay calm by reminding ourselves that it is totally natural for our kids to behave this way when they are in this state.

Of course, we can try to preempt it but every now and then we’ve got places to get to and other kids to tend to and we’re not always able to do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Unreasonable Wants

Overview: The toddler is in a tantrum where the demands are unreasonable. Perhaps the toddler is trying to break out of the tantrum but is not succeeding. That’s when your toddler wants a particular cup and when you bring it he throws it away and wants a different cup.

Response: In those moments, Lansbury suggests that we breathe and we take care of ourselves. We need to trust that the tantrum needs to happen right now. Our job during the tantrum is to keep our baby safe.

These storms pass when we allow them and when we don’t push back on it or try to fix it. Easier said than done I know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Power Assertions

Overview: This is when we’re setting a limit or we’re saying no to something that we feel is important – whether it’s a safety, educational or health reason. (this is where I was at this morning.)

Response: We stick to our limits during these tantrums.

The important part is not to change our minds because we feel uncomfortable with the screaming and crying.

When we do that we can make them feel that their feelings scare us in some way. We give them the message that we will rescue them from these difficult feelings. In doing that, we teach them that if they push those down, then the boundary might move.

If we can keep our limits and show our children that it is ok to have feelings around it, then we teach them that we think they are safe there.

The bottom line with each of these types of tantrums?
We, as caregivers, need to know that is okay for kids to have them.

It’s okay for them to have difficult emotions. The more we can allow space for it without trying to fix it the more our children will know that it is perfectly safe to have those emotions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what happened with my son?

When I picked him up from school, he ran over and gave me a big hug. We embraced for a while.

I said, ”We didn’t get to say goodbye properly.” He said, ”I know. And I regretted it all day.” (Isn’t nice that he is old enough to say that? It is in your future!)

I told him that it is ok that he got angry at me. That I just wanted him to be safe.

We agreed that next time we would try to say goodbye in a nicer way no matter what, even if we are still angry and may need to continue to work it out later.

I told him the bottom line: ‘I love you so much no matter how angry you get, how many doors you slam, and despite the sandwich you left at home.

But let’s work on expressing your anger in a more productive way before you turn into the hulk.’

So you tell me – Do these types resonate with you? which one of them have you survived recently ?

Comment so we can all work through one of the toughest parts of parenting together.

Know anyone struggling with responding to tantrums? Send them this hunger-strike story so they feel less alone. Power to the parents.


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When you feel distant from your kid, do THIS

Dear Tunester,

This week’s post is a super simple strategy for tuning in that you can try out immediately. Like right now. It’s fun; it’s easy; and it a superpower:

This game can repair a temporarily broken relationship with your child.

 

Every now and then I feel like one of my kids drifts away from me a bit. Sometimes it’s because he or she is going through a rough patch and is acting out more than usual. Other times it’s because the others needed more attention during that period. Or maybe it’s because I have been busier than normal and somehow that kid got lost in the shuffle.

 

For instance:
Currently, my eldest seems to be more aggressive with his siblings and more defiant toward me. Connecting with him is more of a struggle while connecting with the others comes more easily and more naturally at the moment.

Last month, it was my middle who seemed to constantly be on the edge of a tantrum. I found myself keeping my distance a bit from him, not wanting to set him off.

 

Our relationships with our kids ebb and flow just like the ones we have with our partners, friends and family members.

But when it comes to our kids, it’s up to US to notice the rift as quickly as we can and make an effort to repair it. That said, it’s not always easy to be the grown up.

When I am in this state, I need a jumpstart for the process of repair.

 

That’s when I play the “Why I Love You” Game.

It’s pretty simple. Ok, here goes:

  1. Say to your child, ”Let’s play a game. Let’s take turns saying to the other person why we love each other. I’ll start.”
  2. Say things that are very specific to your child’s personality. Use sentences that begin with “I love you because … “ or “I love how you …”.Examples:
      • “I love you because you laugh at little things that sometimes annoy me at first but then I see you laughing and I realize it is funny.”
      • “I love you because get very excited about what you are learning at school and you love to share it with me.”
      • “I love how you make up silly songs. They are so funny!”
      • “I love you because you try to find ways to help people around you.”
      • “I love you because you always give me the biggest warmest hugs before bed.”
      • “I love how you build things and you get so involved in your creations.”

Now imagine that you are in one of those difficult periods with your kid when it is harder to think of these positive things. Your rough patch is so rough right now that you can only think of reasons why he or she is driving you crazy. Don’t worry. It is ok. We have all been there at one point or another. It just means you have to look past the provocative behavior and pinpoint the charming ones.

Examples:

      • “I love how after you get very angry about something you always come back to me and find a way to give me a hug.”
      • “I love how when you feel overtired or overstimulated you know that you need to find time to be alone and read.”

 

What are they saying meanwhile? It doesn’t even matter.

They might even surprise you. They might be more perceptive than you think. They might just make your day with the reasons they love you.

Reminding each other of your love can be the first step toward reconciliation or reconnection.

In fact, we should all go around doing this to the people we love ALL THE TIME.

 

You know why I love you all?

I love you because you take the time to read what is important to me.
I love how you trust me to make music for your family.
And I love you because you share your most precious relationship with me – the one with your babies.

 

Have a thousand reasons you want to write down before you forget? Comment here with what you’ll tell your child tonight.

Have a friend who’s been in a rift with their child? Forward them this email and let them know sometimes a parent and child are only one game away from reconnecting.

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