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23 mom-tested ways to manage a tantrum (that really work)

Here's what to try the next time your toddler has a meltdown.

toddler tantrums
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Hang around a toddler long enough, and you'll quickly learn there are a lot of things that can cause tantrums—maybe your child is overtired, overworked, overstimulated...or maybe they are just having a crummy day. Tantrums are inevitable and unpredictable, but it's our jobs as mamas to help our children through them.

We asked Motherly moms to share their number one way to deal with tantrums—and these mom-tested toddler tantrum tips are just too good not to share.

Here's what to try when your toddler has a tantrum.


Offer hugs

1. "Be your child's calm in the chaos. I always offer a hug to validate her feelings. Then wait for it to be over before we talk about it. Usually, now she asks for a hug herself." —Chantelle Hill

2."I try to see if she can express herself, offer hugs and if she really needs the space. I give her space and let her know mommy is here if she needs me." — Samantha Peterson

3. "I try to be the "safe" place. We just entered the temper tantrum phase so I'm still learning. Right now, I just calmly sit beside him. I hold my arms out to offer a hug every few minutes to ensure that he knows I'm not mad at him." — Catherine Abrams

Acknowledge feelings

4. "I sit on the floor with him and wait quietly until he's ready to reach out for comfort. It's over in less than two minutes when I do it that way. 💕 I reaffirm the emotions he may be feeling, and tell him it's okay to have those. It's okay to be angry. It's okay to be tired or hangry. But it's not okay to hurt yourself or others because of those emotions. Then we find a solution. Usually, food because 90% of tantrums come from him being hangry. 😂" — Kaela Westbrook

5. "I let her be—I am showing her that I breathe very deeply and loud and she tries to imitate. Once she starts to calm down I speak to her with a very calm voice trying to explain to her that I acknowledge her feelings and the cause." — Par Parpla

6. "Encourage him to use his words and name his feelings or help me understand what's wrong. Sometimes, if it's fueled by exhaustion/overstimulation, give him space and make the environment conducive for a nap or quiet time." — Oriaku Onuoha Bean

Wait it out + talk about it

7. "I have started to sit quietly and wait for him to calm a bit, and then we hug. Trying to comfort in the midst of it doesn't work for us at all." — Jennifer Navors

8. "Typically I just tell my kiddo "Okay, I can see that you're upset. We can talk when you are calm." And I walk away and let him get it all out. He usually calms down fairly quick (he's 21 months old right now) and when he is calm we talk about whatever he is upset." — Delaney Dishong

9. "Get on their level and talk through why it's happening. Sometimes a redirection helps too." — Shayna Rohrer Kerkstra

Pull out books

10. "My twin boys are three and what really works [is] that I sit close to them so they can reach me if they need me and start reading their favorite story. Usually 1-2 minutes later they stop crying and they are coming close for a cuddle and a story. It works nine times out of 10." — Boglárka Wágner

Breastfeed

11. "Breastfeeding does the trick or it just prevents them." — Bea Harter Halbgewachs

12. "Boob. 🤷🏻" — Bridget Rosaline Neview

Sing

13. "I sing, "If you're angry and you know it." Right now it works. 🤷" — Erin Nicole

Breathing exercises

14. "I start doing deep breathing exercises so I don't lose it too. He follows by example after a few minutes. I was surprised the first time it worked. Hoping it continues for a while." — Hannah Hobbs

Become a toddler

15. "The best thing is you also become a toddler. Enjoy to the maximum, it's real fun." — Reshma Fathima

16. "I threw a tantrum with them, when they stopped I kept going and one said, "you look silly." That was the end of the tantrums to date 🤷." — Arahi Rana Wall

17. "Lay on the floor and throw a tantrum with them. 🤷🏻🤣." — Becky Snedeker

Make them laugh

18. "Make him laugh! Always works!" — Vicki Miller

Give choices

19. "Giving choices like what to wear or eat (after giving acceptable options) has really cut down on tantrums because she has more say in her day." — Alexis Kathryn Taylor

Blow bubbles

20. "We blow bubbles to calm [them] down and refocus on communication to problem solve (e.g. words, pointing, sign, etc.). The neurons that fire together wire together!" — Carolina Alexander

Stay flexible...and stay calm

21. "I've learned it's different for each child. What works for one does not always work with the other. But most of the time they want to be heard and understood and have gotten overwhelmed by their big feelings (and are tired haha)." — Kate Coyle

22. "Stay calm!!" — Maribel Rivera

23. "I just let them be. When they're done I'll give them treats and love... It's like you're on your PMS, but toddler version, so just let it pass...hehehe." — Aryan Gudz

[This post was originally posted December, 2019]

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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