A Toddler Tantrum Solution

Got Tantrum

Recently, we went to bed the parents of two girls under 2 and woke up the parents of a sweet 8 month old and a toddler with a bit of an attitude problem – ha!  No really, our oldest is not crazy on the terrible twos, but we did notice an attitude adjustment was in order.

We suddenly heard, “No!” and, “I don’t like it!” a lot more than we had just a few days earlier.  And we had some interesting conversations when we heard these things.

But it was a few days into this new, “I don’t like it!” phase that my husband brought my formerly amenable and agreeable toddler in to wake me up after an afternoon nap with a tantrum…on my bed!  Yes…on MY bed.  As I sleepily tried to come up with a way to stop the madness, an idea struck me and I lunged at it.  And it worked!  And it has continued to work – even though we kind of are getting past the, “I don’t like it!” (to everything) stage.

“What is it?”

I remembered what my child does like and tried to remind her of them with a game she likes.

We played hide and seek with her “likes.” 

I jumped up off the bed.  Looked at her (screaming, crying, beautiful mess that she was at that moment) and I asked her, “Where did your likes go?”  Then I set out looking for them out loud.  I walked into the bathroom and looked high and low for her likes.  “Are they in here…no, I don’t see them.”

I walked into the closet and searched out those elusive likes.

I came back to find my toddler a little bit quieter and asked her, “Where are your likes?”  I told her they were not in the bathroom or the closet.  Then I asked her if they were in her room.  She got up, stopped crying, started walking into her room.

Suddenly she had a new thing to do! 

We walked all around the house, upstairs, downstairs looking for those likes.

And we found them, hiding downstairs!  Once we got downstairs I asked her if she liked her favorite toys.


I asked her if she liked Mama (a previous target of, “I don’t like it!”),


I asked her if she liked Dada (another victim).


And then we celebrated.  “Yea!  We found G’s likes!  We found her likes!  Yea!  She likes [her toys], she likes Mama, she likes, Dada!  Yea!”

Grace smiles
That is more like it!

And the tantrum was over!  Forgotten!  Success!

Do you have any creative parenting ideas?  Solutions to the problems we face with toddlers?  I would love to hear them!  Please share!

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Danielle Makara

    Will definitely try this!! Any tips on how to keep an almost two year old in her highchair at dinner time?
    Thank you, Danielle

    1. ussleah

      Hmmm…We are large fans of the power of being a lady. We started asking her if she would like to be a lady or “mama’s little lady” at around 18 months. So now everything we do is related to being a lady. When she puts her feet on the dinner table, “A lady doesn’t put her feet on the table.” “Sit like a lady,” etc.

  2. Jessica McDonald

    Very cleaver! The “I don’t like it” stage can definitely be exhausting. We have some major 3 year old attitude going on in our house right now. Thanks for the inspiration to get creative when it comes to taming tantrums!

  3. Tantrums….. oh man….. I actually have a few posts on my blog about dealing with tantrums…. Your technique of distraction is really good ~ sometimes when my kids are having a fit they are too far gone for fun, but if we can catch it before it escalates, changing it into a game is a great strategy. Thanks for sharing this! {found you from the ‘hop’!}

  4. Hello Leah,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on our Glitter Play Dough post over at Cocktails with Mom. I am somewhat passed the tantrum stage with my kids but you handled that situation well. Good tips.

  5. Why I can’t be that creative on my feet I’ll never know. But I do have a slight feeling that when I try this I’m going to have a “like” thrown at my head. The different between boys and girls. LOL! Great idea though. Changing the focus from a negative tantrum to a positive result. Visiting from SITS!

  6. Lynne Childress

    That is amazing! We have a 1 year-old who is now into throwing little tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. Looking for ways to curb that. Thank you! Distraction is great.

  7. conni hudson

    This is an awesome method for our little lady

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