Toddler 101: Temper Tantrums

These are notes taken from Toddler 101, a program presented by our daycare where Gillian Ashley-Martz, a Registered Clinical Counsellor, a mother of two and Certified Canadian Family Educator who has been working with families for over ten years taught new parents how to get through the early years.

The part of the presentation that had parents scrambling to take notes and leaning forward paying attention was a 7 step process in conflict resolution.


1. press PAUSE button
(take a deep breath and gather yourself, don’t get sucked in to the situation)
2. REMIND myself that the only person I can control is me
(look back at the toddler’s job description: they’re just doing their job by challenging boundaries)
3. REFRAME how I think affects how I feel which affects how I react
(you get back what you put into it)
4. CONTROL the SITUATION not the child
(the key is to stay neutral and calm – dont step into the drama. Remove the object of frustration and remove yourself if you’re losing it)
5. DONT GIVE IN and do follow through with consequences. Be CONSISTENT
(reinforce that you mean what you say)
6. REGROUP help them restore equilibrium to REASSURE them that they will learn self control
7. ROLE MODEL self control and how to handle powerful negative feelings

The key to remember is that the toddler is looking for attention and testing boundaries to assert their independence. When you see them do something right, express how it makes you feel. Ask them how it makes them feel. Once kids have a label, they will live up or down to that label, between 0 and 6 they’re constantly developing beliefs about themselves.

So make it a positive belief and make it often. It takes 10 positives to delete 1 negative.

Here is a final thought I put out on Twitter the night of the seminar: Honestly? parenting seminars just cause us to overthink things. we were BORN to have kids. it shouldnt be hard. #toddler101

If you’re really struggling and can’t find resolution, then maybe there’s some Dr Phil styled advice in this Toddler 101 series, but really – if you’re a rational and smart person, you’re going to be a good parent. Really, you’ll be fine.


Photo on Flickr by Citril

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