How to Tame a Toddler

Elijah is three and a half. I am hoping this is the worst his toddler tantrums will get because any worse than this and I am not sure how I will cope. (Actually, I will cope as that is what mothers do, we seem to have some inbuilt resilience when it comes to our children and our breaking point is pushed further and further away).

He told me I was rude for not giving him a toy and proceeded to just start sobbing uncontrollably

I fetched Elijah from school at lunchtime today after he had done playball to take him to swimming – he only does two after-school activities and unfortunately, they are both on the same day. I had his lunch in the car and I had this picture in my mind of us arriving early for swimming and Elijah eating his lunch in the waiting area while we chatted nicely about what had gone on at school that day. Nothing could have been further from the truth. As I arrived to fetch him from school he asked me if he could have a new toy.


Obviously, I said no but that did not go down so well with him. I am not sure why he thought he could randomly have a new toy as that is not how things work in our house. As we got to swimming, things escalated. He told me I was rude for not giving him a toy and proceeded to just start sobbing uncontrollably. He flat-out refused to go into the changing rooms to get into his swimming costume. I used to change him on the side of the pool but the rules have now changed and he must be changed in a change room. He was screaming and crying and thrashing around.

If I was at home I would have put him in time out but this was in a public space and therefore I could not do that. Finally, one of the teachers picked him up and put him, still thrashing around, into his cubicle. He then refused to let me change him. The teacher then told him that he would not be allowed to get into the pool if he did not stop misbehaving. I really did not want that to happen as the lessons are expensive and it takes time out of our day to get there. He was not listening to either of us and I know the best thing would have been to just pick him up and put him back in the car but I really wanted him to swim.

I finally managed to get his costume on and offered him his lunch. That seemed to be a turning point and he immediately stopped crying and quietly ate his lunch until his lesson time. I was mortified and sheepishly went to sit with him. I am still not sure how the best way to have handled the situation was or when the toddler tantrum even came from!

I am not sure if maybe he was hungry or if this is the start of major toddler tantrums. I am hoping it is the first and can always be cured with a little bit of pasta and sauce.

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