Using Massage to Manage Toddler Tantrums
As I write this, I have a lovely glass of cold white wine in hand and boy is it necessary. Today can only be described as a difficult and mentally exhausting. From the moment Trudy, my 2 year old, wandered into our bedroom at 7am she made it known that my usually loving and care free daughter had been replaced by a demon toddler. This doesn’t happen very often but when it does, brace yourself!!
The first meltdown was on the kitchen floor because I wouldn’t let her pour a whole box of cereal into a small bowl. The tantrums of epic proportions continued throughout the day. Something such as the wrong coloured cup or not allowing her another Jaffa Cake would set her off. A quick trip to Morrisons resulted in a stressed call to my husband threatening to sell the kids on Ebay, although Etsy maybe more appropriate since they are home made.
It is days like this that mindful parenting is forgotten. It is replaced with huffing, shouting, pleas and despair. I really hate these days because I feel like I am not attuned to my daughter. I can’t understand why she is so upset and my frustration is no doubt etched on my face and reflected in my voice.
By the time it was bath time, it was all just too much. Screams, tantrums and an exhausted Trudy fell into my arms. At this point I began to use massage, the oxytocin began its magic. I felt the tension leave Trudy as I massaged her back and I felt I could breathe again. Once again, we were attuned and I relaxed too.
Although the idea of bed was not exactly appealing to Trudy, my comforting touch settled her. I used the ‘sleepy strokes’ on her forehead to encourage her to give into the much needed sleep and close her eyes. It worked, and when I stopped, she pulled my hands back to her face. She was enjoying my positive touch and it relaxed her to the point she fell asleep peacefully.
Although you may think that infant massage is for babies only, it is a useful tool in diffusing toddler tantrums and helping parent and child bond even on the most difficult of days. The terrible twos can be challenging for all parents but a loving touch can keep you connected. Although the phrase ‘this too will pass’ is also very useful.
Here’s hoping tomorrow is a better day…. Now where’s that wine?