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How do you handle toddler's bedtime tantrum

  1. #9
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biggie View Post
    We have a routine and he used to be good. We would read some books and then he got tired and asked to be put to bed or we just put him to bed(crib). Now he doesn't do that anymore and is always fighting not to go to bed. I want to set a limit and be stricter but problem is, as I pointed out above that he is older now and capable of hurting himself ( banging head on floor, might climb out of crib ) and later when he's in real bed he could be throwing fist in the room which is dangerous if unsupervised. So the question i have is how do you handle such fit WHEN it happens
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    At 2-years-old, I would get rid of the crib because it's becoming more dangerous than useful because a child climbing out of a crib will fall further than a child crawling out of bed. Unless he is in a total rage, I wouldn't think that throwing a tantrum in the room is that big of a problem. But, then again, I don't have a child who punches walls or does anything destructive to himself or others when he's upset. Also, my son's room is a pretty safe place in general (no sharp or dangerous objects etc.).

    We just don't allow fits, honestly. We don't put up with them. If he's just crying and carrying on (maybe rolling on the floor--that sort of thing) I tell him, "I will be back when you calm down" and I walk out of the room and close the door. I learned that from the way my own mother dealt with him. She would just leave him lying on the floor wherever and walk away. If he ran after to her and tried to hang on her leg (that probably only happened once) she would calmly and gently repeat what she had said and lay him back down on the floor to continue his fit. You just have to keep your own cool and stick to it. Depriving him of an audience usually makes the fit a lot less severe.

    At my son's age now, 3-years-old, I will just say to him, "Are you done crying yet?" and for some reason he'll pull himself together. I just don't reward the behavior by fighting with him, giving him attention or trying to force him to settle down. My theory is that if you don't add oil, the fire will die out.

    Also, I will give him choices. For example, I'll say, "Do you want to listen to [name of CD] or not listen to [name of CD]?" If he says he wants to listen then I say, "Well, you need to get into bed in order to do that." I only give him a few seconds to respond. If he doesn't then I just say, "Well, I'm going out. Goodnight." He's learned to make up his mind pretty fast and to stop crying or carrying on if he wants to get something.

    Also agree totally with carang that the throwing up action is 1) nothing to be concerned about (for example, my younger sister used to throw such a fit that she would turn purple, pass out and pee her pants when she was a toddler--my mother was freaked out and took her to the doctor--apparently, this sort of thing--along with children working themselves up so much that they throw up is pretty common--it's not dangerous and you shouldn't give any more attention to it--the more you focus on it as in "ah, poor baby, I'm so sorry you threw a fit so hard that you threw up"--the more that child is going to do it) 2) Something that you should either ignore or as carang suggested--make the child help you clean up.

  2. #10
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    My two year old can sometimes be difficult to put to bed, but one thing that we did was put a gate on the doorway. Her room is pretty safe for her to be in, and she is in a big bed (she was previously running out of the room) - so now we just close the gate and leave her in there. She sometimes will cry and carry on a little - but she can't get out and we mostly ignore her. She puts herself to sleep eventually. I think she has an understanding of what the boundaries are, and if she can't go to sleep, she'll sing to herself or read stories, or play with her stuffed toys etc... But she VERY RARELY gets back out of her room once that gate is closed and she knows that. Some nights she's asleep within 5-10 minutes, other nights it takes more than an hour and even as long as two hours to get to sleep. But I think that for her, knowing what the boundaries are and also being physically unable to leave her room really worked for her.

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    Biggie is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for all the stories and suggestion. To be honest, it upsets me more than him - he doesn't seem to remember the next morning, but I'm heart broken since he used to be such a happy and "easy " kid before #2 arrives.
    He is very stubborn and can cry for over an hour at night ( we have tried that when he woke up in the middle of the night and we didn't go into his room).
    I'm inclined to play "nice" and read more books till he falls asleep rather than close the door and let him scream. After we move in s few weeks he will have a real bed and things might be more settled.
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  4. #12
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    what you need to be able to distinguish is: is he screaming because he's angry or because he's truly frightened? if my kids are angry, i let them scream. they are entitled to be angry, just as i am...BUT if they are frightened, then i cuddle & reassure them...

    we aren't heartless because we let the kids cry... to me, this is VASTLY different than CIO with a baby.

  5. #13
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biggie View Post
    Thanks for all the stories and suggestion. To be honest, it upsets me more than him - he doesn't seem to remember the next morning, but I'm heart broken since he used to be such a happy and "easy " kid before #2 arrives.
    He is very stubborn and can cry for over an hour at night ( we have tried that when he woke up in the middle of the night and we didn't go into his room).
    I'm inclined to play "nice" and read more books till he falls asleep rather than close the door and let him scream. After we move in s few weeks he will have a real bed and things might be more settled.
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    Ah, that makes sense. There is a fabulous book out there called "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer"--I have the original version and the expanded version for the toddler years and beyond. The author talks about "accidental parenting"--when we do things to appease our children so we don't feel so bad rather than just biting the bullet and doing what's actually best for them (and will achieve the desired behavior results).

    It does take a lot of guts to stand up to your toddler and there have been times when I disciplined my son and I had to go in the other room and have a cry by myself because it was emotionally difficult to do.

    I think it can be compared to immunizing your child. I don't know about you, but I can't stand to see my child cry and for this reason it's really hard to see him have his shots (jabs, immunizations). But, does that mean I just don't do it because it makes me uncomfortable? No. The benefits in the long-run outweigh the temporary discomfort (for me and him).

    So, even crying for an hour a night isn't that big of a deal if you can make yourself go through it. (If you're consistent you'll find that that hour won't be an hour after a couple of weeks--it will diminish and go away) It's not the cry-it-out-method (CIO) where you just leave the child to scream until they can't anymore.

    You keep checking back with him and reassure him that you still love him and are there--comfort him just enough to calm him down a bit and then you leave. If he starts crying again you tell yourself that you'll check back in a few more minutes (you set the time and keep an eye on the clock) and you just keep doing this until he learns that you are the one setting the agenda, not him.

    At 2-years-old, most children do not have the actual mental maturity to "reason" and by trying to negotiate a "deal" with them you are overwhelming them with too much power. They need leadership and assurance.

    Also agree with carang that there is a big difference between actual fear and just a need to assert control. Two-year-olds often struggle at bedtimes and with meals etc. in an effort to test boundaries and see if they can influence their little worlds.

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