Show me the parent of a child who doesn’t experience the odd tantrum from time to time and I will be astonished; most kids will express their frustration vocally or physically at some point. But what happens when the meltdowns become a daily occurrence? Or more? I can vividly remember reaching breaking point with my eldest on several occasions when she started reception. Combined with a new baby sister and moving house a few months previously she was pretty much at prime stress level for a young child. And then there was me, in a sleep deprived haze, short-tempered and frankly close to losing my mind completely, a happy house we were not!
How I dealt with the tantrums
Sometimes the tantrums would last for hours, screaming and kicking, sobbing and shouting in rage. I tried reasoning with her, I tried ignoring her, I tired shouting back - which just resulted in everyone crying even harder - nothing worked.
Eventually I took to enveloping her into a huge bear hug, holding on as tight as I could without squashing her, until eventually her screams would turn to whimpers and her little body would start to relax. All the time I would talk calmly to her, telling her that I loved her, that she was a good girl, that it was OK. This method turned out to have far better results than anything else in diffusing her meltdowns, but they still kept happening - day after day.
Introducing Love Bombing
One day over coffee a friend suggested an extension of what I had been doing - a method called ‘Love Bombing’ in its basics it is all about one on one time with your child - giving them your full attention (i.e. no mobile phones) regularly telling them how much you love them, letting them have full control for the allocated period of time (within reason obviously) and absolutely, categorically, NO OTHER CHILDREN!
The following week my husband and I made a big thing of it ‘Sunday is going to be yours and Mummy’s day - no baby, just you and Mummy’ We told her she could choose to do whatever she wanted. Despite offers of the zoo, cinema or swimming ultimately, she chose to just go the park and have a babycino in the local cafe - funnily enough much what we used to do before her little sister came along.
That day we let her wear what she wanted and eat what she wanted for breakfast, she chose not to brush her hair, although teeth-brushing was non-negotiable - remember all within reason - I even let her choose my outfit for the day.
A wonderful experience
We spent a lovely few hours together, laughing, showing lots of affection and most importantly I gave her my full attention, something that had been distinctly lacking of late. There was not one tantrum that day, and although the tantrums didn’t stop completely they eased considerably in force and she became much more receptive to my earlier calming methods.
We have now made ‘Love bombing’ a regular occurrence and talk about it often, I do believe that it has helped her to manage her emotions more effectively, fundamentally we want her to know that no matter what she is important, she is loved and it’s all going to be okay.