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We’ve all been there: You’re in the mall or at the playground, looking down at the red-faced, tear-stained, shrieking child trying to pry away his hand from yours. All you may want in that moment is to be invisible—but, sadly, those cloaks are in short supply.


Left with the reality that tantrums are just a part of life with (cognitively developing) toddlers, many parents struggle to figure out the best course of action. Do you ignore? Distract? Talk it out? According to the experts, there may be appropriate times and places for all of those responses.

Here’s what the pros want us to know about tantrums and taming them:

Toddlers don’t like tantrums either

It helps to stop seeing tantrums as willful outbreaks and start approaching them from places of compassion, says Sarah Ockwell-Smith, author of Gentle Discipline: Using Emotional Connection—Not Punishment—To Raise Confident, Capable Kids.

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“As hard as it is for you to cope with your toddler's meltdowns, especially when they happen in public, it is so much harder to actually be the toddler,” says Ockwell-Smith. “Imagine feeling so out of control, unable to calm yourself and get a hold on your emotions and being completely unable to communicate how you feel with anyone.”

Add stares from strangers and scolds from parents and it’s much easier to see why this is a stressful situation for little ones. Ockwell-Smith says that’s why, at least initially, the best reaction is a hug and some support.

Rationalization doesn’t help much during the tantrum

“In the moment the tantrum is happening, most parents don’t realize how much the tantrum is affecting them–their tone of voice, their feelings, their body language,” explains Katherine Firestone, founder of the Fireborn Institute, a nonprofit providing parents with practical strategies for educational success.

According to Firestone, becoming frustrated, annoyed or angry is a natural response when someone is yelling (or screaming and kicking) at you. Although telling the tantruming kiddo to “calm down” may seem like a good solution, it usually doesn’t work; kids just don’t have the skills to look at the situation as rationally as we do.

She suggests a better way to help everyone chill is to take a deep breath, gauge your feelings and validate your tot’s emotions. Says Firestone, “Get down on his level and say something like, ‘Oh dear. I know this is very frustrating. I get frustrated sometimes too.’”

Bedtime, screen time and mealtime are all factors

How often have you felt hangry? Now think about how extreme that can be for little bodies and bellies, says Shanna Donhauser, a child and family therapist at Happy Nest Therapy. The same goes for out-of-whack habits with screen time and bedtime.

“It's hard to notice patterns when you're in them, but I encourage parents with children who have extreme tantrums to record diet, sleep and screens over the period of a week or so,” Donhauser says. When parents keep track for awhile they can see if a a late soccer game, movie night or extra helping of dessert is the precursor to a tantrum—and adjust household schedules and menus accordingly.

Sometimes intensity is better than calmness

As counterintutive as it may seem, some kids respond better when parents get on their level—of strong emotions, that is. Says Holly Klaassen, author of The Fussy Baby Survival Guide, some tantrums can be tamed by redirecting the high energy in a positive way, such as by eagerly pointing of a cool item on the other side of the room.

Temporary distraction doesn’t mean the tantrum should go entirely unaddressed, however. Says Klaassen, “After the flood of emotions has passed, there’s time to talk about feelings or to deal with whatever caused the meltdown.”

You don’t always have to worry about who ‘wins’

As any parent knows, tantrums don’t always happen in ideal environments. If you don’t have the time or ability to talk your child down, St. Louis-based childhood and anger management specialist Kelsey Torgerson says it’s okay to give in.

“You may have somewhere you absolutely have to be or you're not at a good location for a tantrum. If that's the case, it is okay to give into your child's demands,” Torgerson says with the caveat of making sure you do it promptly so your child doesn’t read it as the fit getting them what they wanted. “The longer you wait before you give in, the more likely your child is to reach that level of tantruming again in the future.”

Outbursts are normal, 20-minute tantrums are not

When your kiddo is melting down in the grocery store and everyone is staring, it can feel like your kid is the only one who acts like this. But, according to Dr. Cheryl S. Al-Mateen, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, a tantrum here or there (or in aisle six) is a normal part of early childhood.

But parents should consider getting help if the tantrums are frequent, regularly occur outside the home, typically last more than 20 minutes or involve aggression or self-injury.

The experts all agree, most tantrums are a normal part of child development. When they do happen, you can lay the groundwork for lessening tantrums—and rest assured that your kiddo will likely be back to flashing that magical smile soon enough.

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Last year, Bode and Morgan Miller welcomed identical twin boys into the world, and now the couple is giving us a glimpse into how things went down on that fateful day by showing the story of their twin home birth.

"Presenting…Birth Story with Bode," Morgan wrote in an Instagram Story (it's in her highlights). "I'm sharing because...our bodies are beautiful. It's a scary emotional ride but d*mn, we are capable of so much more than we even know."

bode morgan miller twins home birth

But in order to really tell their birth story, the couple had to go back to nearly a month before their babies came into the world. Bode predicted the babies would be born on his birthday, October 12, but the day came and went with no signs of labor. Instead, Morgan carried the babies until November 8. They chose to induce on that day and they were prepared to proceed with a home birth as planned.

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However, Morgan had a sudden change of heart. "You said, 'I don't want to do this today. I'm going to the hospital. I want to get an epidural,'" Bode recalled. "I said, 'Well that's not going to happen. That window has passed.'"

And so a home birth it was! Right before the midwives arrived at the Miller family's home, it became pretty clear that the babies were ready to make their big debut. "You went over to the other side of the bed and said come push my hips… and within like three contractions I could really feel them going apart when I was pushing them together, which means that baby's head is really getting low down in there and pushing apart your pelvis," Bode said, adding that he felt the baby's head emerging.

Both boys were born quickly, before the family's medical team could arrive.

"They were like, 'Oh my god...what are you doing?" Bode recounted. "I was like, I guess having babies? I don't know."

Bode and Morgan named their twin boys Asher and Askel. They join big brothers Easton, 13 months, and Edward, 4, and Bode's children, Samuel, 6, and daughter Neesyn, 11. They also have a sister in heaven—as you may recall, Bode and Morgan tragically lost their daughter, Emeline, to a drowning accident at just 19 months.

While the twin birth was certainly dramatic, the couple couldn't be happier with how it all unfolded. "It was literally ideal," Bode said. "[It was] a lot for everybody to experience, you couldn't have had it be cooler for everybody involved."

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Milestone moments aren't just for parents of babies. Designer Joanna Gaines shared the details of a momentous occasion on Instagram this week: her oldest son getting his driver's permit.

That might be a shock to you to those of you who have watched the Gaines' family grow up on HGTV, but Drake is 15 years old now. 😲

As any parent knows, the years just fly by when you're raising kids. Understandably, the fact that her firstborn is now old enough to get behind the wheel of a car had Gaines feeling more than a little emotional.

"Drake waited in line for an hour and finally got called up to get his drivers permit and then my 15 year old little boy drove home with Chip and all of a sudden he is all grown up," she wrote. Watching Drake check off that particular milestone was especially head-spinning for the mom since she's got a toddler at home, too.

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"It's crazy because this morning I spent most of my time teaching Crew how to go up and down the stairs because he is still so wobbly (his weight is not distributed evenly quite yet). He used to reach for my hand when climbing the stairs so I could help him and now he insists on doing it himself, " she continued. "The gap between these two circumstances with my boys is wide but the feeling on both is somehow the same."

Fair warning, the ending of Gaines' post is going to have you wiping tears from your eyes. "So many hard and beautiful moments of beginnings and ends," she wrote. "Parenthood is all about training these babies up to eventually let them go. May we savor all the big and quiet moments along the way."

Not wanting to miss any of those moments was a big part of the reason Gaines and her husband Chip decided to end their hit show Fixer Upper in 2018. With a family of fast-growing kids (the couple are also parents to kids Duke, Ella Rose, and Ella Kay), Gaines posted on her blog at the time that she and her husband wanted to step away from the show to give "lots of love and attention to both our family and our other businesses." That's left time to savor all those special events in their children's lives—whether it's a step toward adulthood or simply a step up the staircase. But fans shouldn't worry: the couple is still making time for work, too. Their own network is set to launch this summer.

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It has been watched nearly 3 million times, and although this video from Hallmark was originally posted last May it is going viral again because for us moms, every day is Mother's Day.

The video is a commercial for Hallmark, but it is also so much more than that. It's a look into what motherhood is really like, the crying, the multitasking, the mess...and the bittersweet pain of watching them grow up.

The commercial follows a mom as her kids grow from toddlers eating off the floor to tweens who need privacy to teenagers who need to borrow the car...and finally, into parents themselves.

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Warning, watch this one with a tissue in hand:

"There will be a day when you hold them on your hip for the very last time..." a narrator tells us.

"There will be a day when you've made your final bubble beard...a day when you will no longer be greeted like a hero..or get the privilege of carrying them up to bed in your arms. Nothing can prepare you for these days."

And as we see the mom's daughter become a mom, the narrator says, "just as nothing can prepare you for the day when they finally understand how much you love them."

Are you crying yet, mama?

Thank you Hallmark, for showing the world that motherhood is so complex.

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It's finally 2020. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few days into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

Laura Prepon is a mama x 2! 

Actors Laura Prepon and Ben Foster share 2-year-old daughter Ella and now share another "bundle of love".

Prepon announced her pregnancy back in October on Instagram:. "We are so excited to announce that our family is growing. Life is beautiful!" and has now announced her birth as well.

"Overwhelmed with gratitude." she captioned an Instagram photo of her baby.

Ashley Graham is a mama! 🎉

A new chapter is unfolding for model and podcaster Ashley Graham, who just announced she and her husband Justin Ervin have met their baby.

The baby arrived Saturday, according to a post made on Graham's Instagram Stories.

"At 6:00pm on Saturday our lives changed for the better," reads the Story. "Thank you for all your love and support during this incredible time."

Graham previously announced that she and Ervin were expecting a son. They initially announced the pregnancy on their ninth wedding anniversary.

Congratulations to Ashley and Justin!

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden just welcomed a baby girl! 🎉

Surprise! Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden are ringing in the New Year as first-time parents!

"Happy New Year from the Maddens!" reads a birth announcement posted to both Diaz and Madden's Instagram accounts. "We are so happy, blessed and grateful to begin this new decade by announcing the birth of our daughter, Raddix Madden. She has instantly captured our hearts and completed our family."

Raddix Madden is the first child for Diaz, 47, and Madden, 40.

The couple say they won't be posting any pictures of their daughter on social media as they "feel a strong instinct to protect our little one's privacy."

Congratulations to the Maddens! 🎉

Dylan Dreyer of 'Today' is a mom of 2! 

Today meteorologist Dylan Dreyer and her husband Brian Fichera, welcomed their second child, Oliver George Fichera, the first week of January 2020. Oliver joins his big brother Calvin to make the family a foursome.

Dreyer is still recovering from birth but her voice was on TV this week when she called into her show with an update on her new family. "I feel good," Dylan told her colleagues. "I just feel so happy and so blessed."

Caterina Scorsone of 'Grey's Anatomy' now has 3 girls!

Caterina Scorsone of Grey's Anatomy has so much to be thankful for in 2020: She's now a mom of three! The actress announced the birth of her daughter via Instagram, noting that her baby's name is Arwen.

Arwen joins big sisters Eliza, 7, and 3-year-old Paloma, who has Down syndrome. Speaking on The Motherly Podcast last year, Scorsone explained how Paloma's diagnosis made her "whole concept of what motherhood was had to shift."

It is likely shifting again, as any mama who has gone from two kids to three knows.

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