30 Toddler Calming Techniques

Random Observation/Comment #612: Toddlers are assholes. I read the book. Can confirm.

Why this list?

My previous post outlined all the signs of your infant transitioning into toddlerhood. Oh, joy. Now what you need, besides a vacation (aka business trip) is a few techniques for distracting or appeasing your child without forming bad habits. We really liked the book “No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline without Shame” by Janet Lansbury. She gives great examples. Before you know it, you’ll be a toddler whisperer.

  1. Get to eye level and calmly say, “No, you can’t have that.”
  2. Ask her, “Would you like <A> or <B>?” so she’s making choices
  3. If she’s pointing and whining to get something, then look at the item and ask, “Did you want <NAME OF ITEM>?” Even if you cave in and give it to her, at least she’ll learn the name of it
  4. Act like you don’t understand her communication and encourage learning rather than restricting what she wants to do
  5. If it’s related to food, then try a piece yourself in front of her and say it tastes good “Yummy!”
  6. If it’s a new food, try to feed it to her with a different utensil. I’ve found that Evie tends to eat anything I give her with chopsticks.
  7. If she’s fussy with food, try to walk away and bear out the whining. She’ll cave in.
  8. Tell her that you understand she’s upset and that we’ll talk again in a few minutes
  9. If you’re changing her, talk her through what you’re doing before you do it. We often have a song for every activity like “time to change your diaper” or “time to take a bath” or “time to put the toys away”
  10. Give her a warning using nouns and actions
  11. Start a count in another language. A stern counting is pretty scary.
  12. Take a few deep breaths yourself and make sure you’re calm. A frantic parent can lead to a more frantic toddler.
  13. Don’t over react or she’ll keep doing it to get a reaction. Toddlers are very observant and will test out the waters.
  14. Do over react and clap your hands to reward any successes. Just this morning we had her help us put the laundry in the washer and push the start button.
  15. If it’s a calm situation, then listen carefully and pay attention by asking questions so it’s a discussion. Pretend you understand her.
  16. Sing “If you’re happy and you know it…”
  17. Sometimes she hates going in the stroller and we want to stay away from bribing her with a pacifier or cookie so we start the peek-a-boo game to distract her.
  18. Turn on dancing music to deflect the energy
  19. Act excited about something else and tell her there’s something fun to look forward to
  20. Give her something unique that she’s never seen. She’ll be fascinated with the new object.
  21. Give her something comforting like a stuffed animal
  22. Leave the area and see if she’s just looking for attention
  23. Tell her you’re putting on shoes and going for a walk outside in the hallway. Sometimes she just wants to go walk around. (Plus this is like doggy training for hearing specific verbs that get them excited)
  24. Change the task or do it later. Sometimes she’s too energized to get her diaper changed in the morning so we tell her we’ll do it after breakfast.
  25. Give her a healthy snack – blueberries are great. Try not to default to cookies.
  26. Try a funny laugh or some other distracting sound. Changing volumes sometimes also helps or trying very high pitch or low pitch commands.
  27. Take off your glasses or change your appearance somehow. Big motions!
  28. Pick her up and give her some snuggles (because that usually works)
  29. Give her the pacifier
  30. Show her your phone or play something on TV (we try to make this a last resort, but it does always work)

~See Lemons Calm Evie (for now)