08 February 2008

How to Soothe Toddler Tantrums

I could have done better dealing with our son's tantrums, so I thought the recent article in the NY Times about Dr. Harvey Karp's book "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" might be helpful to others. Note this summary of his technique:
... a toddler throwing a tantrum over a cookie might wail, “I want it. I want it. I want cookie now.”

Often, a parent will adopt a soothing tone saying, “No, honey, you have to wait until after dinner for a cookie.”

Such a response will, almost certainly, make matters worse. “It’s loving, logical and reasonable,” notes Dr. Karp. “And it’s infuriating to a toddler. Now they have to say it over harder and louder to get you to understand.”

Dr. Karp adopts a soothing, childlike voice to demonstrate how to respond to the toddler’s cookie demands.

“You want. You want. You want cookie. You say, ‘Cookie, now. Cookie now.’ ”

It’s hard to imagine an adult talking like this in a public place. But Dr. Karp notes that this same form of “active listening” is a method adults use all the time. The goal is not simply to repeat words but to make it clear that you hear someone’s complaint. “If you were upset and fuming mad, I might say, ‘I know. I know. I know. I get it. I’m really really sorry. I’m sorry.’ That sounds like gibberish out of context,” he says.

On his DVD, Dr. Karp demonstrates the method. Within seconds, teary-eyed toddlers calm and look at him quizzically as he repeats their concerns back at them. Once the child has calmed, a parent can explain the reason for saying no, offer the child comfort and a happy alternative to the original demand.


Beach said...

we used Karp four S's for newborns and they worked great.
Swaddle, Swing, Suck, and Shhhh! hopefully the advice for older kids works as well.

Anonymous said...

How I wish this would work on pre-teen tantrums!

Tantrum Toddlers Enthusiast said...

you could also use the help of music to tame your child's tantrums... this works with my kid :)


I was having problem realted to baby toddler but i came to a site that helped me a lot i am sure the given link is going to help mothers to get rid of this problem