The goal of this new phase of life is to educate my little cupcake how to avoid being naughty.  In order to do that we need to learn how to be good, and that’s gonna take a lot of trial and error.

When I hear a conference speaker say, “Happy kids behave,” I just take it with a grain of salt, because in the real world it is not always appropriate or even possible to get exactly what you want every moment of the day.  Some would claim it’s not healthy 😉

Wouldn’t we all love to be able to intervene before meltdowns occur?  Some say it’s possible to stave off naughtiness by being attentive and proactive enough before it becomes the norm, but comme on guys, sin happens.

So my new favorite phrase is, “Yes, you can,” dramatic pause, “…but you might have to wait.”  Which is received with overwhelming success the majority of the time.  But then there’s the rest of the time…


Let’s explore the top four in my home : hunger, fatigue, loneliness, and the last one we’ll just call sin. 0:)

Hunger.  To snack or not to snack?  Many many bloggers recommend an arsenal of snack foods to keep their bellies full and mouths shut.  If you are looking for another perspective, you are not alone.  At our home we eat at regular meal times around the table with a full set of silverware and napkins in our laps.  But my hungry monster can find both calm and distraction by helping prepare the food, set the table, or just sit at the table with her plate and silverware, playing with her napkin and drinking water until the food is ready.  Last night our whole family ate an hour early because I saw that Cupcake was fading fast and so we kept the evening ritual, potty time, picking up toys, bath time, dinnertime, potty time, bedtime, all in order, just earlier than normal because she had a rough day.  But if a child is hungry and it’s no where near meal time what are your options?  We’ve heard it said that most of our snacking impulses are actually other needs that we aren’t trained to recognize.  My mom says drink water first and wait 20 minutes to see if you’re actually hungry.  We tried it, and in my experience when Cupcake thinks she hungry outside of meal times she won’t take water as an option, but she will take a nap.  Go figure.  So maybe food is not your culprit, but before the next meltdown look at the clock, count the calories recently burned and at least ask this question before you scold.

Fatigue.  In our house unlimited naps are available all day.  Cupcake knows that binkie lives in the crib so to hang out with binkie she needs to be in nap mode even if she’s not actually sleeping.  We are a family that is always on the go, so sometimes we can get carried away at the park or strolling around town and Cupcake might need a reminder that this might be a nice place to nap.  Maybe she needs help beyond a reminder, like a dark blanket to block out distractions or lullaby music to drown out the bustle of the street.  I never ever wake her up from a nap because nothing is more important than uninterrupted sleep.

Loneliness.  Attention getting behavior like talking back or hitting are a means of communication.  Both sound agressive and as attacked individuals our reaction is to push away when what we need to do is hug and reassure.  When I say “No” because I want my baby to stop something, it is only logical that my baby learns this is a way to get undivided attention.  So hug your baby tight and reassure that no matter what you’ll never abandon them.  And when you are asking them to transition to a new activity and they throw a tantrum, they may be saying, “But Mommy I’ve been waiting for you to play this with me.”  So rather than punish them for expressing that emotion, get down on the floor with them, engage in the game they’re playing and help them transition seamlessly to the next activity and do it together.

Sin.  It would be great if the benefit of the doubt could resolve every meltdown, but sometimes Cupcake’s wishes are impossible to fulfill, unreasonable or just plain selfish.  Then what?  Like today when she started throwing things because she wanted chocolate?  Then what do you do?  I’m working on implementing a method I call the Comfort Corner, but it’s mostly preventative and once the defiance has shown it’s face nothing seams to work after that.

The Ultimate Goal is to teach baby and toddler to identify and understand his own emotions.  So give it a name, and help your little one know how to react to that emotion next time.


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