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My daughter’s worst tantrum happened a few years as we were finishing up a daycare tour. I didn’t warn her before it was time to go and she refused to leave. I took her, screaming and kicking, outside the building to a less crowded but safe area, and put her down.


My baby girl kept kicking and screaming as I stood there as calmly as possible, for about 15 minutes, as I watched her tantrum. She didn’t want me to come to her, so I waited. People walked by, they stared. I felt anxious and sweaty, but I tried to remind myself that this isn’t as terrible as it feels.

I smiled to passers-by, and even got some empathy and encouragement from strangers who have kids. After my little one was all cried out, she ran to me and I held her. She was calm and it was all done. We learned together that day and she never had a tantrum like that again.

The truth is, most children can’t regulate their own emotions until later in life. Sure, we “know” that, but do we really? As parents and caretakers, we have so much to offer our little ones, even in moments that we feel utterly powerless. Here we will examine triggers, and how you can help your little one overcome the temptation of a tantrum.

What to know first

Emotions

Being in touch with a child’s emotion is important when trying to divert a crisis tantrum. Through understanding their emotions, we can take a step further and understand their point of view. What is it they feel? Sadness, anger, humiliation? Avoid asking if they are tired, because this is a body feeling, not an emotion. Being tired can play a huge impact on the emotions, yes, but the little ones aren’t thinking about that right now.

Triggers

Understanding your child’s triggers is key to understanding tantrums. What triggers your child to throw a fit? Overstimulation, change in routine, bedtime, crowds, sharing toys… broccoli? Once we know what tends to set off our little ones, we can be better prepared.

How to take action against tantrums 

Warning

Children understand, and do better, if things are explained to them before they enter an over-stimulating experience. If you’re going into something that might be hard, like going to a store that has toys, tell them beforehand, clearly, that you aren’t buying toys today. If you’re at the park and it’s time to go home, let them know in advance, and set a timer on your phone, showing them what will happen. If you know that your kid hates to share toys, ask them to hide one favorite toy they don’t want to share and agree the share the rest in advance. Like us, children appreciate some warning.

Eye contact

Nothing works better than getting down on your knees and having eye-to-eye contact with your child. Make sure when you talk to your child you ask them to look at you in the eye, but not in a threatening way. Rather, a safe place for them to gaze. They may try to squirm and avoid it, but calmly work on directing their eyes to you when you speak to them. You can even go a step further and ask them to repeat what you told them. This allows for more effective communication.

Modeling

Our children struggle with self-soothing and regulating their emotions. Knowing this is important. Children watch us, they sense us. As adults, we do have the power of self control. We have the power to be soothing and smiling. Keeping your cool during a tantrum may feel impossible, but it’s not. Remember that you don’t have to “feel” your child’s feelings, that you are a separate person from them. That you are not “bad” or “wrong” as a parent. Forget what other’s might think. This is natural – all kids get upset sometimes.

I recall a time when a small child came to play. Younger than my daughter, he grabbed her precious toys and grabbed at my daughter. I decided to get down on the floor and model for my daughter how to handle the situation. I played with him, yet set boundaries of not pulling on hair. My daughter watched me and began to take over, playing with the boy herself. I modeled keeping cool for her, and handling something new.

Reflecting

Reflecting can be a pretty powerful tool from the parental tool bag. When your child is starting to show warning signs of tantrum, get down to their level and tell them how you think they are feeling, ask them if you are right.

Small children can learn to identify their own emotions this way, which is great for later on. “Alexa, you’re feeling sad/angry/lonely?” Again, avoid, “Are you tired?” because this is a body feeling, not an emotion. As a toddler, if my daughter was sad she learned quickly to tell me so. I can tell you that nothing pull on the heartstrings like a toddler saying, “I’m sad,” as she cries calmly. This helps the child learn to communicate with you, and reduce meltdowns.

Redirecting and play

Redirecting a child’s attention is a great method. This isn’t just sticking a teddy bear in their hands and expecting them to change their thought track. It’s a little more clever and calls for a bit of creativity.

Imagine your child is getting cranky as you wait for your order at Starbucks (for example). What can you do? You can’t just walk out of the store without your lifeline cup of caffeine. Instead, take your child and walk around the shop. Point out interesting things like pictures on mugs or colors you see. If they’re old enough, ask what they see.

Use your environment and make something out of it. You’d be surprised how much children love straws or sugar packets. Have your child say hello to strangers who may be happy to smile and coo at your little one. 

Offer choices

Offering choices is a very effective technique when working with children. This can be used in all sorts of ways, from the food they eat to what they do. Offering choices gives your child power, and what more do they want than that? Even asking questions that seem like you’re giving them power can work wonders.

For example: “Jimmy, do you want five more minutes at the park, or six?” Once they make a choice, follow through with it. Allow your child to feel that they have some decision-making power in their daily lives. Another example: “Johnny, you have a choice, if you throw sand we go home now, if you don’t we can stay longer.”

This can be a learning process, as you follow through with your statements. “Jimmy, remember, you wanted seven minutes. Now the timer is up, time to go. Next time we can come back, but only if you can stay calm when it’s time to go.”

Again, it’s giving him a choice: If he isn’t calm maybe he won’t get to come back to the park tomorrow, but if he works to be calm then he gets to come back. When offering choices, remember that your tone is important – children sense that asking in anger may be a form of punishment.

Apply these techniques to a hypothetical-but-real-life scenario

Mom needs to bring her daughter, Ana, to the grocery store. Mom knows Ana tends to want to grab things off the shelf and throws a tantrum when she can’t keep them. Mom tells Ana before leaving the house that she needs to go to the grocery store. Mom kneels down to make eye contact and says, “Ana, we cannot buy a toy today. You have a choice, you can come with mommy to the store now but no toys, or stay home.”

Ana wants to go, but she wants a toy. She won’t agree. Mom says, “Okay, no store,” and mom waits. Ana is upset, but Mom waits until Ana understands that she won’t get a toy. Mom has Ana repeat that she understands she won’t get a toy again later.

At the store, Ana sees a toy. Forgetting everything, she begins to ask for it. Mom makes eye contact with Ana softly. “Ana, remember what we said? No toys today. I know it makes you sad, you want it now. But maybe another time you can get it.” Ana may tear up, but mom keeps her loving cool. “I know, it’s not easy, but I know you can do it, your my big girl! Can you help me remember what we needed? Was it cereal? Mommy forgot!” Laughing, mom keeps talking and encouraging Ana to help her.

In this vignette, we see that mom knows her daughter’s triggers. She decides to warn her child that there would be no toy, offering a choice to stay home or come with. She has eye contact and is physically level with her child. She sees her daughter beginning to show emotions and reflects that back to her, identifying the emotion. The child has a chance to understand and put a word to the feeling she has. Mom keeps her cool, and models behavior, reminding the child of their agreement. Later, she cleverly redirects the child in a way that helps her feel empowered. Mom is playful and loving. Tantrum avoided.

Through these techniques we learn so much about our little ones. We learn how we can act rather than react. We can outsmart the tantrums, and help our children grow and learn. I believe that most tantrums can be avoided with extra understanding and support. Try it. What have you got to lose? I know, just your sanity.  

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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When you're feeding multiple kiddos and figuring out meals for your own lunch and dinner, it can be difficult to find options that fit the bill for everyone. Our secret? Great kitchen gadgets and basics that make meal planning a breeze.

From the Instant Pot (yes, it's *totally* worth it!) to a cast iron pan, we rounded up some of our favorite kitchen basics every parent needs in their kitchen.

Make sure to add them to your cart today before Prime Day ends at midnight PT!

Ninja blender

Okay, so you might already have a blender—but you don't have a Ninja. It does everything from crushing ice for cocktails to pureeing baby's food and making hearty smoothies for everyone else. We love the sleek design that won't be an eye sore on any countertop.

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When model Mara Martin was one of 16 finalists selected to walk in the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swim Search show, she was thrilled to fulfill a lifelong dream. And when she woke up the day after the show to see that she and her baby daughter had made headlines around the world, she was thrilled all over again.

Martin breastfed her 5-month-old daughter Aria while walking in the runway, and the story spread quickly.


"It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least," Martin wrote in an Instagram post Monday. "I'm so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL! But to be honest, the real reason I can't believe it is a headline is because it shouldn't be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that."

SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day says the breastfeeding moment wasn't planned in advance, but it worked out wonderfully. Day was speaking with the models backstage when she noticed Aria was peacefully nursing away. Having breastfed her own two children, Day recognized this as a powerful moment in the making, according to SI Swimsuit.

"I asked Mara if she would want to walk and continue to nurse. She said 'Oh my gosh, yes! Really? Are you sure?', and I said absolutely! I loved the idea to be able to allow Mara to keep nursing and further highlight how incredible and beautiful women are," Day explained.

Martin hopes that her moment in the spotlight can help other mamas feel comfortable nursing when and where they feel like it, but she doesn't want to overshadow some of the other women who took part in the show.

"One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country," she wrote. "One woman had a mastectomy (@allynrose), and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself (@bren_hucks you rock) Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!!"

And thanks to Martin's powerful motherhood moment, now, people are.

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Dear Jeff Bezos and all who have anything to do with Amazon Prime Day,

I just want to start by saying—I know you are trying to be helpful. I love you all for that. I honestly do. But, you are kind of making me feel a lot of pressure today. Like, in a good way, but also, in an anxious way.

Let me explain…

On any given day, as a mother to three children, I have a certain level of anxiety. While it's not constant, I do have my anxious moments. Why? Because there are various versions of the following: Me asking my two older daughters to get their shoes on what feels like 500 times as I am changing my 9-month-old's very, very, very messy diaper while I am trying to figure out what I can throw on to wear in about five seconds while I am repeating brush your teeth, brush your teeth in my head so I, in fact, don't forget to brush my teeth.

Not even to mention the mental load that weighs on my mind every single day. Remember to flip the laundry, fill out the school forms, cancel that appointment, reschedule this appointment, order more diapers, figure out what we're having for dinner, squeeze in a shower, lock the basement door so the baby can't get down the stairs, find better eczema cream for my middle daughter, get more sunscreen...the list goes on and on and on.

But then you Amazon Prime Day me and I'm having a lot of feelings about that.

Because you're reminding me of things I need to order, to think about, to be on top of more.

The little potty that's on sale reminds me that I need to step up my potty training game for my 2-year-old. That super cute dollhouse reminds me that I need to think about my daughter's first birthday in two months (WHAT!). That face mask reminds me that I need to remember to wash my face before bed because I forget waaaay more than I remember which is terrible.

But then I realize, these deals are going to save my mental load by fixing my life. Right?

Like, I never knew I needed an Instant Pot until you told me it was only $58. Now I am scouring Pinterest for meals I want to prep in my own. THIS POT IS THE TICKET TO GETTING MY LIFE IN ORDER.

Do we need more plates and cups for the kids? I mean really they only probably need about two plates and two cups each but YES. Yes I do need more cute kids kitchenware. THESE PLATES ARE THE TICKET TO BEING A GOOD MOM.

What would I do if I had five Echo Dots? I don't know, but let's find out because they're only $29! THESE DOTS ARE THE TICKET TO EFFICIENCY.

If I order a Vitamix at 30% off, I know I'll lose the baby weight. Think of all the smoothies I'll mix up! I mean, I just lost a pound even thinking about the smoothies that thing can whip up. THIS VITAMIX IS THE TICKET TO A SEXY BOD.

Buying this trendy, floral dress will step up my mom style significantly. THIS DRESS IS THE TICKET TO KEEPING MY COOL.

Okay, then after I add all the fixers to my cart, I realize… I have 99 things, but necessity ain't one.

I mean, I have everything from waterproof band-aids to bras to dresses for myself and my kids to an alarm clock and books. I basically feel like Oprah—You get an Audible subscription! You get an Audible subscription!—but instead of these products magically being paid for by Queen O herself, the money is coming from my bank account, which is a lot less fun of a game, TBH.

And if I am being honest, I don't need much help with my order-things-from-Amazon-and-pretend-it's-being-paid-for-with-Monopoly-money game as I am quite often coming home to an Amazon package wondering what it could be, opening it with the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas morning—even though I am the exact person who ordered whatever is inside of that Amazon box.

But today, on Amazon Prime Day, you tempt me with all the deals. And yes, my anxiety, blood pressure and adrenaline rise. And yes, my bank account might temporarily decrease—BUT if we are being fair, with the savings I'm getting on things I would buy anyway, I am basically making our account increase overall. Right?

And while these things aren't going to make me skinnier, or cooler, or more put together—I'm okay with that. I am doing a pretty good job on my own. But some of them will actually help my life in a few different ways at a reasonable price, and I am grateful for that—for real.

Now, Bezos, please end this 404 error nonsense and let me purchase all the things!

Thank you for all the savings and excitement,

Mamas everywhere

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Usually when celebrities post swimsuit photos on Instagram they don't exactly look like your average beach-going mom, but former Bachelorette (and mom of two) Ali Fedotowsky posted a series of bikini photos on Monday that are both beautiful and relatable.

"This might be my most vulnerable post on Instagram ever," she wrote in the caption for the photos which show a postpartum belly that looks like a real postpartum belly.

"At the end of the day, I know it's important to be open and honest about my postpartum body in hopes that it helps even one person out there who is struggling with their own body image," Fedotowsky (who just gave birth to her second child in May) wrote.

In the first photo of the series she's wearing a sarong around her stomach, but in the second and third photos Fedotowsky reveals the kind of stomach many mamas sport: It's not perfectly taut, she's not showing off any abs, but it is definity beautiful.

"If you swipe to see the second photo in this post, you see that my body has changed. My skin around my stomach is very loose and stretched out, I'm 15lbs heavier than I used to be, and my cup size has grown quite significantly," Fedotowsky writes.

The photos are a sponsored post for Lilly and Lime Swimwear (a line made for women with larger busts) but that doesn't mean it wasn't brave. In fact, the fact that it's an ad makes it even more amazing because research shows that when advertising only shows us bodies that don't look like our own, women become "generally more dissatisfied with their body and appearance".

Ali Fedotowsky

On her blog Fedotowsky notes that a lot of comments on her previous Instagram posts have been followers remarking how slim she looks, or how much they wish they looked like she does postpartum. By dropping that sarong and showing her tummy Fedotowsky is showing other mothers that there is nothing wrong with their own.

"While I appreciate the positive comments, you guys are always so good to me, I keep trying to explain that I'm just good at picking out clothes that flatter my body and hide my tummy," she wrote on her blog.

"I bounced back pretty quickly after I gave birth to Molly. But things are different this time and I'm OK with that. I'm learning to love my body and embrace how it's changed. I hope I get back to my pre-pregnancy shape one day, but that may never happen. And if it doesn't, that's OK."

Ali Fedotowsky

It is okay, because our bodies are more than our swimsuit selfies. They the vessels that carry us through life and carry our children and provide a safe, warm place for those children feel love.

Loose skin is a beautiful thing.


Thanks for keeping it real, Ali.

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