Redirection: The Toddler Tantrum Tool
What is Redirection and How Will it Help with My Toddler’s Tantrums?
Redirection is basically learning to be like a Jedi. Using mind tricks and the strength of your opponent (or in this case your toddlers upset) to control a temper tantrum. With redirection you’re going to try and refocus your toddler’s energy into a new avenue. Redirection ends inappropriate activity immediately and sets you up to teach them right from wrong.
I’m sure you’ve had stressful days where you find yourself gritting your teeth due to work, an argument or even during the morning commute, you understand why you’re doing the action and the tension you’re feeling. A toddler who is going through the biting phase doesn’t understand the connection but after an incident can still be experiencing stress. You can redirect and alleviate this tension by offering something appropriate to bite like a cold washcloth or even frozen fruit. Mango chunks have been a lifesaver for us. Be sure to reinforce that it’s a good thing to bite the frozen fruit but not to bite people.
How do I implement redirection in real life?
If your toddler is having a meltdown and screaming you can say, “Yelling isn’t allowed inside, but we can go outside and yell.” Another idea is to use that vocal energy in a happier way such as singing loudly along with his favorite tune.
If your toddler is throwing toys, either at you or a playmate you can take him away from the items he’s been throwing and introduce him to another activity such as coloring.
You can actually disarm your child’s desire to tell you, “NO!” by allowing it in a different way. If you get a defiant “NO” in response to a request, shoot back with a silly question like, “Do you want to eat wiggly worms and giant bugs for dinner instead of pasta?” Then your child feels like he has the control and power saying no, but the tantruming has been sidetracked.
Remember “NOs” from your toddler are a normal part of development an help him feel in control as well as establish identity. Use redirection during the times when it’s you really need a break from it.
Parenting Ain’t Easy
Just like in most parenting situations, there is no one-size-fits-all method to help your toddler during a tantrum. The more tools you have at your disposal the better. Sometime soon relying on one method can actually cause it to become les effective. When you use redirection, pay close attention to your child’s reaction. Stay strong and keep consistency, but remain flexible if you need to use other tools.
Tags: dealing with toddlers, gentle parenting, gentle parenting advice, how to gentle parent, parenting, redirection, toddler meltdowns, toddler tantrums, toddlers