I remember having my first baby, she was bright, funny, tactile, and showed signs of a strong will. Friends and family would say ‘just wait until she’s a toddler!’… At that point, my baby becoming a toddler seemed like a million miles away. Yet, in a blink of an eye I was introduced to the wonderful & somewhat challenging world of toddlers! We had just welcomed our beautiful baby boy in to the family and felt super excited to introduce him to his big sister. Unfortunately our daughter was not so pleased about the new arrival, and at 18 months old, struggled to comprehend this little invader in to her nest!
As a mother, I remember feeling shocked by her sudden change in behaviour, I had no way to control or predict the outbursts, and was ill-equipped to deal with the situation. This, coupled with a new penchant for nightmares, teething, the dreaded concept of sharing and a new big bed, both my toddler and I were at the end of our tethers. I found myself frowning a lot, calling for time-outs, decamping to the grandparents for some light relief and crying down the phone to my close friends.
Of course, all of this is normal and these changes in behaviour can be linked to the different developmental stages our children go through. This stage is what psychologists call emotional regulation. Meltdowns are common during this period and it’s down to parents to support, guide and use the bond they have, to help the child learn to modulate their emotional expression and begin to grasp the difficult concept of not getting everything that they want.
Reasons for these meltdowns are many and varied. For example:
• Tiredness & fatigue are factors in how your child behaves and deals with situations
that he/she may find challenging.
• Overstimulation can also increase the chances of an uncontrollable meltdown. Reducing screen time especially before bed will help reduce overstimulation in your child.
• Frustration at not being able to do something and struggling communicate their needs, are also key factors in determining your toddler’s temperament.
• Hunger: We know how being hungry or ‘hangry’ as it is known in our household, can affect our mood and our ability to concentrate. Toddlers have small tummies; this, combined with a higher metabolism means they will become hungry much quicker than an adult would. Ensuring you have a few emergency snacks in your bag, is always useful!
• Potty training can end up being stressful for both you and your toddler. My advice would be to not rush it, make sure your little one is ready, otherwise it can be quite a long, drawn out process.
As a mother, it’s always useful to have a few techniques in your toolkit to deal with these outbursts. A great way to reconnect with your toddler is through reflexology. Reflexology is well known for its benefits with adults, but little has been written about the wonderful effect it can have on toddlers. Toddler Reflexology is done on the hands and can be combined with their favourite nursery rhymes (it can also be carried out on the feet). It is a great way for you both to reconnect, bond and calm down together,
especially after a stressful day.
Reflexology can help aid sleep, so if you’re finding your little one is feeling fretful at night time, struggling to drift off or waking with nightmares, reflexology can be a great way to soothe, relax and encourage a good night’s sleep.
My youngest son seems to always be over stimulated at bedtime, this is due to him playing with his older siblings, who love to get him very excited! This is wonderful to see, but of course makes life difficult when I attempt get him in to bed. My saviour is Toddler Reflexology, he absolutely loves it and all I need to say is ‘Joshie, mummy do your hands’, he runs in to bed and proceeds to present me with his hands, followed by his feet!
Learning this skill and being able to have this in my toolkit, provides me with an added confidence that I can help my toddler manage his emotions, support him with having a good night’s sleep and fundamentally it allows me the opportunity to reconnect with him after a tough day.