We’re not immune to tantrums in our house. In fact they come with a depressing regularity… But it’s all too easy for me to roll my eyes and mutter under my breath, chastising my child for their unreasonable behaviour yet again.
Last year I read an interesting article about the effects of a tantrum on a toddler. Their sense of shame and sadness can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to cuddle it out afterwards and tell them that you love them, no matter what (whilst fighting the urge to put them out with the recycling bins…)
Feelings are complex and young children simply don’t have the tools to internalise them yet. With Jess, we find that talking it through as a family afterwards really helps. Not least because it makes everybody feel a bit better about themselves, including me who’s probably shouted too much as usual. This is where a couple of great storybooks come in handy. Here are 3 to gently assist your child on their complicated journey of learning how to deal with emotions:
My Big Shouting Day by Rebecca Patterson
Bella’s woken up in a bad mood. Nothing’s right. Her baby brother keeps licking her jewellery, her breakfast is rubbish and, later on, her peas are TOO HOT! I think we can all relate to days like this with a toddler!
What I love most about this book are the expressions on the characters’ faces. Children can see for themselves that Bella is making people sad by acting the way she is. I also love that Mum isn’t shy about reprimanding Bella, yet she still finds time to have a big cuddle at the end of the day. This gives Bella a chance to reflect and apologise.
Elephantantrum by Gillian Shields & Cally Johnson-Isaacs
Ellie’s not happy. Her father buys her everything she wants but its never enough. Today she wants an elephant and she’s not going to stop tantruming until she gets one! When the elephant arrives, Ellie’s furious when he doesn’t do exactly what she asks. Instead the elephant turns the tables on her, making Ellie do everything HE wants. And if she doesn’t do it, ‘he throws an enormous elephantatrum!’ It’s a taste of her own medicine for poor Ellie and she doesn’t like it one little bit. But gradually she learns that its much more fun being nice to the people than shouting at them all the time.
This book gives a young child a gentle introduction into ‘cause and effect’. Nice behaviour and no shouting = fun and laughter and happiness. Both my girls love this book. It’s definitely helped them learn to be more tolerant of one another. Now they play happily together for hours. Except if Jess touches one of Emily’s Barbies… Then it’s game over.
The Selfish Crocodile by Faustin Charles & Michael Terry
The Selfish Crocodile wants the river all to himself. He makes the rest of the animals walk miles to drink in other rivers and streams. He doesn’t think twice about the inconvenience he’s causing them until he gets toothache and no one wants to help. When a little mouse bravely whips his bad tooth away, the Selfish Crocodile begins to reflect on his behaviour. Slowly, he starts to understand the effect his selfishness has had on the other animals.
I love the morals presented in this story. They create some great starting points from which to discuss emotions with your child;
- That its good to share.
- That it doesn’t pay to be unkind to people (they won’t want to help out when you’re in trouble.)
Most importantly, it teaches kids to always brush their teeth! Can’t go wrong with that.
Do you agree with my selection? Comment and let me know…