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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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As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

This article was sponsored by Kinder. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


Our Partners

About a week ago, it dawned on me: We don't have enough diapers on hand for my infant son to get through an extended quarantine due to coronavirus. At 9 months old, we go through about six diapers a day, which means we'd need about a pack a week to get through. Like many parents, my first thought was to stockpile diapers. My second thought was that if every parent stockpiled diapers, we would drive shortages and make it harder for families like this one to find the diapers they need—and harder for parents who cannot afford to stockpile diapers.

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Ultimately I decided to make the switch to cloth diapers for the first time, (I chose GroVia because they are simple for newbies like me), but like many families, I remain concerned about our ability to get the family supplies we need in the midst of Instacart and Amazon strikes, product outages and overall stockpiling driving up availability and prices.

It's hard to resist the urge to stockpile when you're worried about when you'll next be able to get formula, diapers and wipes for your baby. And many families, like mine, are having a near-impossible time finding available delivery slots from grocery stores and services like Instacart.

Here's the current state of formula, diapers and wipes, and how to make sure you can get the baby goods you need.

Formula

Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics say that parents should keep 2-4 weeks of formula on hand at any given time. Dr. Steve Abrams, chair of the AAP Committee on Nutrition says "most families who have 2-4 weeks supply are in good shape," and asks that parents not stockpile formula so that all parents are able to access the formula that they need.

Dr. Abrams asks that parents attempt to be brand-flexible if possible, as they might have trouble getting the exact brand they usually buy. Most concerning are parents of children require specialized formula, like lactose-free formulas. In a story in The New York Times, mama Catie Weimer recounted her struggle to get sufficient amounts of specialized formula for her baby.

"Am I going to have to force him to drink a milk-based formula because that's what I can afford?" Weimer wondered.


It's a worry lots of mamas are facing.

Here's how to get access to formula:

If you're able to order online: Amazon is still selling baby formula with Amazon Prime delivery this week. Walmart is offering free delivery and free pickup at its stores, including baby formula. Target and their service Shipt, have pickup and delivery options, if you can snag a delivery slot.

If you need a specialized formula: The AAP recommends that you reach out to your pediatrician, who often have sample products on hand.

If you can't get formula: Regardless of your income or employment level, if you can't get baby formula you can find a food bank near you via Feeding America. Ask about resources for families with young children and infants. If you're previously or newly eligible for WIC due to changes in your employment, WIC offices can help you get formula if you're having trouble access or affording it. You can apply or find a local resource here. Lastly, you can dial 211 in the United States to be connected to local resources to find formula, as programs can vary from city to city.

Diapers

Some stores ran out of disposable diapers after a rush of bulk buying earlier this month, and while cloth diapers are a great alternative for some families they will not work for everyone, especially families who don't have easy access to laundry machines.

Disposable diapers can still be purchased at many stores, although you may have trouble finding your exact brand if it is popular. Walmart's website is currently showing many brands and sizes of diapers as in stock.

If coronavirus has made you or your partner unemployed or caused your pay to be reduced, check out the National Diaper Bank Network website for resources in your area, You can also dial 211 in many states to be connected to Essential Community Services, a resource that may be able to help you find diapers in your community.

Some community groups are organizing drive-by diaper giveaways, so stay tuned to your local community pages (and donate cash if you can).

Wipes

Baby wipes are hard to come by these days for a few reasons: Bulk purchasing early in the pandemic, people purchasing them when they could not find disinfectant wipes and because the toilet paper shortage made them a common second choice for people who would rather be using toilet paper.

Some parents are turning to DIY baby wipes, cutting up shirts and flannel sheets for their diapering needs, but that does not work for every family. If you need wipes and cannot find them, contact the diaper banks in your area. In some communities, grassroots organizations are even delivering wipes and other baby supplies.

Bottom line: It takes a lot more detective work to find what we need for our babies these days.

It is worth calling the smaller stores in your area to see if they have your item or brand in stock. If the big box stores are out of wipes, try calling the small pharmacies in your area to see if they have any left.

If it is possible for your family, reusable options may be a good choice to get you through.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Call the diaper banks or reach out to your local mom group to see if anyone else has an oversupply.

[This is a developing story. This page will be updated as more resources become available.]



News

We're so used to getting things delivered to our doorsteps super quickly, but the coronavirus pandemic has, of course, caused delivery delays across North America and now a looming strike threatens to complicate grocery delivery even further.

On Monday Amazon workers and Instacart shoppers demanded both companies increase protections and pay—or the workers will strike. Spokespeople for Amazon and Instacart both tell Motherly both companies remain operational.

What the workers want:

Instacart's shoppers want the company to provide hand sanitizer and wipes for the gig workers, as well as better compensation for those taking on the risky task of shopping during a pandemic.

Amazon employees want warehouses to be closed for deep cleanings and want access to paid sick leave. Right now they only get paid sick leave if they are placed on a mandatory quarantine by medical providers or have tested positive for COVID-19.

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So far, 14 employees at multiple Amazon warehouses have tested positive.

The potential strike comes after several U.S. lawmakers, led by Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Minnesota's Rep. Ilhan Omar, sent a letter to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, urging the company to step up protections for these workers.

"Workers at Amazon warehouses worldwide continue to raise concerns that their employer is not doing enough to protect them from exposure to COVID-19. More than 1,500 of these workers have signed a petition asking Amazon for a more comprehensive response plan, increased protections, hazard pay, and changes to productivity-based performance metrics," the politicians wrote.

They continued: "We ask that you intensify your efforts to protect the health and safety of your warehouse workers. No employee, especially those who work for one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, should be forced to work in unsafe conditions."

As NPR reports, Amazon says it gas "taken extreme measures to keep people safe," and is allowing employees to take unpaid leave if they don't feel safe. It has also raised wages by $2 an hour through the end of April.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, says this is not enough.

"All employers need to prioritize the health and safety of their workforce at this time," he explained, according to ABC7NY. "Unfortunately, Amazon appears to be prioritizing maximizing its enormous profits even over its employees' safety, and that is unacceptable."

In a statement emailed to Motherly, an Amazon spokesperson said, "These accusations are simply unfounded. Our employees are heroes fighting for their communities and helping people get critical items they need in this crisis. Like all businesses grappling with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we are working hard to keep employees safe while serving communities and the most vulnerable. We have taken extreme measures to keep people safe, tripling down on deep cleaning, procuring safety supplies that are available, and changing processes to ensure those in our buildings are keeping safe distances. The truth is the vast majority of employees continue to show up and do the heroic work of delivering for customers every day."

Motherly also reached out to Instacart. A spokesperson for the company explained that it remains fully operational across North America and that the company has just announced plans to distribute new health and safety supplies to its shoppers.

"Over the last month, our team has had an unwavering commitment to prioritize the health and safety of the entire Instacart community. We've been evaluating the COVID-19 crisis minute-by-minute to provide real-time support for Instacart shoppers and customers throughout North America. We're in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and other medical experts to ensure our policies, guidelines, and resources are aligned with their recommendations as this situation evolves," Nilam Ganenthiran, President of Instacart said in a news release.

Some of the gig workers shopping for Instacart want more protection.

"They are profiting astronomically off of us literally risking our lives, all while refusing to provide us with effective protection, meaningful pay, and meaningful benefits," Instacart shoppers wrote in an open letter posted to Medium by the Gig Workers Collective.

What the Amazon + Instacart strike means for parents:

Unfortunately, this likely means that getting groceries and baby supplies delivered to our homes during the quarantine is going to become even harder (if that's possible).

Many parents throughout the United States and Canada have reported extreme delays in receiving Amazon orders of things like diapers and baby wipes and Instacart delivery times are booking out weeks in advance.

What you can do:

The labor issues delaying Amazon and Instacart are beyond parents' control, but local stores in your area may be able to help. Some small businesses are offering delivery or drive-up services. If the smaller stores in your area don't have online options try calling ahead to see if they will bring your groceries outside.

What's next:

The workers plan to walk off the job on Monday, and Instacart already has plans to hire "300,000 full-service shoppers over the next 3 months to meet the growing customer demand for grocery delivery and pickup in North America," according to a news release.

Instacart says these "independent contractors, Instacart shoppers join the platform for different reasons and play many roles outside of being a shopper—they are parents, entrepreneurs, students, and more."

Parents need to get groceries right now, but the parents doing the shopping are also worried.

Motherly will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

News

With so many mamas spending more and more time at home, finding fun activities to entertain and educate kids has become the new normal. If you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed, the Sesame Street crew is offering a bit of relief and support during the COVID-19 health crisis.

As part of the Caring For Each Other initiative by Sesame Workshop, families can enjoy over 110 free Sesame Street ebooks on all major ebook platforms like, Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble Nook, Google Play and Kobo. The books cover many topics, including math, music, reading and animals, so you're bound to find something to entertain your little one—and even yourself.

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"Around the world, young children's lives are being turned upside down, and parents and caregivers are looking for ways to give their children—and themselves—a sense of stability in this new normal," Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, senior vice president for curriculum and content, sesame workshop, said in a statement. "But there are things parents and caregivers can do to face each day with optimism. Sesame Street is here to provide the caring adults in children's lives with the resources they need to help children, and foster their healthy development at home."

The new initiative also offers resources to help mamas manage anxiety, and establish routines to help families stay mentally active. And as noted on the site, the new resources aren't prescriptions mamas must follow—just ideas to help families find ways to breathe, laugh and play together.

There isn't a specified expiration date for the free ebooks and learning resources, but we're super appreciative of any resource, for any amount of time, that helps families get through this global crisis together.
News

We are living through the hardest time in recent memory, mama. It's understandable that many of us don't want to read more headlines about the coronavirus, but the pandemic has impacted every facet of our lives.

But while we struggle through this difficult time there are also stories that can help us laugh or remember the goodness of humanity in this hard time. All the good news stories going viral this week are related to the coronavirus, but they are uplifting, too. We can't ignore this, but we can look for the light in this dark time.

Here are the viral stories making us smile this week.

This doctor's family lost their home after this photo went viral (and so many people are helping them) 

As reported by Business Insider, last week Dr. Jared Burks, a resident physician at Saint Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro, Arkansas, went viral thanks to the touching photograph above.

Burks was separated from his family because of his work on the front lines of the coronavirus battle and could only see his son through a window. That window is part of the home belonging to Burks' wife's parents. His wife, Alyssa, and little Zeke (seen in the above viral image with his dad) went to stay there so that Burks could stay in the family home while working in the hospital.

But now he can't because the couple's house was destroyed by a tornado. "Our house is gone. Jared was inside, but he survived by the grace of God," Alyssa wrote on social media over the weekend.

A friend quickly set up a GoFundMe to help the Burks. The goal was to raise $2,500. It has raised more than $78,000, with more than 2,000 people donating to the cause.

One day this dad will be able to live with his son again, but until then he will at least have help securing a place to stay while practicing social distancing.

The Backstreet Boys' virtual concert goes viral, raises spirits 

The Backstreet Boys recently reunited (virtually, from the privacy of their own homes) for Elton John's iHeartRadio's Living Room Concert for America, and the internet can't stop sharing the video.

It's all over social media because it's the kind of content people need right now: It's a reminder of a simpler, easier time (1999 was when "I Want It That Way" came out) and a reminder that we're all in this together.

The guys showed up in sweatpants and with their kids hanging around in the shots, the same way many working parents are showing up on Zoom calls this week.

Drake shares first photos of his 2-year-old son, Adonis 

Drake is going viral this week and not because he dropped a new single but because he is sharing the first photos of his son, Adonis.

Drake shares 2-year-old Adonis with fellow Canadian Sophie Brussaux and they have kept Adonis out of the spotlight until now. It seems like Drake is missing his little guy as the rapper has "reportedly been in self-isolation at his Forest Hill mansion in Toronto since earlier this month when the COVID-19 pandemic worsened," CTV News reports. Drake needed to isolate because he'd been spending time with NBA players who may have been exposed.

"I love and miss my beautiful family and friends," Drake wrote on Instagram. "I can't wait for the joyful day when we are all able to reunite. Until then please keep your lights on."

Viral indoor scavenger hunt is the activity parents + kids need right now 

If you are running out of things to occupy the kids indoors, check out this viral post from teacher Jessica Nicole Barker.

"I found these for my students to use at home but anyone with families needing something fun to do, I found these off one of my teaching blogs and put all the ones she's posted together in one post for easier finding and usage. So please feel free to share. I found these from Primary Playground page if you wanna follow for more. She usually posts a new one each day so far!"

Barkers post has been shared more than 100,000 times since Friday and we know many parents are following her lead and following the Primary Playground page.

John Krasinski's good news video goes viral 

We know John Krasinski as an actor, but the former star of The Office has become an at-home amateur news anchor, launching his new show Some Good News on YouTube.

We love how this dad has built a show that is dedicated to uplifting news stories in the time of coronavirus.

Steve Carell stopped by the first episode and YouTube commenters are loving it. "I'm pregnant and bawling my eyes out. SGN is hitting me right in the feels. Such an amazing concept," one YouTube user wrote.

We so agree.

News
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