Tips for managing toddlers and break downs

Recently I had a wonderful opportunity to sit down with Funda Yolal, founder of Tiny Terrors and amazing parenting expert on challenging behaviour and over a relaxing cup of tea I was able to chat about how things are going with my girls. Both close in age (19 months to be exact) there is sibling rivalry many days and difficulties with sharing and communication that ends in physical behaviour. Probably my most discussed issue that day was the break downs and tantrums I see daily with my 3.5yr old.

Sometimes I really just lose myself and my patience, other times I just walk away without a solution and just kind of give up. So realising that my reaction can play a big part in furthering the break down or tantrum I took advice from Funda on what sort of approach I can take to improve the outcome of these difficult moments. Funda has been kind enough to put together a few features from our meeting that I’m sure might help other mamas in understanding a little more about what we can all do to improve the dreaded tantrums of a three year old.

Selfie with Funda


*Most important strategies for effective parenting and behaviour management*

Boundaries and Routine. Children not only need rules and boundaries, they love and thrive on them. They need to know what’s expected of them and as parents we are their leaders and need to be confident with the rules. Brainstorm with your partner and your children a list of house rules! Having a consistent routine in important for children as they like to know what’s coming next. They feel that their day is more predictable and will be less resistant to change with the forewarning of them of transitions. Eg: “in 5 minutes we need to get to put your pyjamas on”.
I’ve personally seen a great change in reactions when I give warnings now of 2-5 minutes before I expect something to happen, there is less of an element of surprise and therefore less of a chance of a meltdown when asked to do something.

Recognising positive behaviour. Once you have the rules and are consistent with boundaries it will be a lot easier to catch and reward positive behaviour!
This has been a massive game changer for me. Instead of just letting the good behaviour pass by as something I expect, I now really acknowledge and congratulate my girls on good sharing, good ‘listening ears’ and generally well behaved moments.

Set a consequence strategy that works for your family. This is for behaviour you can’t ignore. Eg. If you’re child is throwing blocks, you may give the condition that if they throw again the blocks get packed away.

Ignore minor behaviour and redirect and model what they should be doing. If your child wants a turn and start whinging or crying, you can say ‘I can see you’re upset. How about you use your words and ask for a turn’.

Spend quality one on one time with your children. This can be difficult in our busy lifestyles especially with the edition of technology. Have a games night, or be mindful when they are doing arts and crafts by putting your phone on silent.

I can’t tell you how helpful these tips for consistent parenting have been along with some wonderful reward charts and suggestions Funda has offered my family since our meeting. I had actually started googling ‘how to deal with tantrums’ and ‘better parenting ways’ as I was becoming a little unstuck and uncomfortable with how frustrated and fed up I was getting with all the moodswings of my kids (mainly three year old). And it was at that time that Fonda and I started chatting, I can’t recommend enough what a professional can bring to the table, Funda sat down and learnt about our family first before working out a strategy and process that suited our way of parenting and lifestyle. If you are looking for some pointers and find yourself at your wits end (as many of us are) don’t be afraid to get in contact with a child psychologist.

Funda Yolal