Thursday, 14 June 2012

Howe do you do... calming a crying toddler

I'm not one of those people who doesn't stand for crying, who wants to suppress genuine emotion? But then there are times when you just need them to stop; and there are emotions that aren't so genuine! So here goes:

  • The Cuddle: the first port of call on the crying journey. Sometimes this is enough to wade through the incomprehensible syllables to the source of the tears.

  • The Magic Kiss and Rub: I'm not entirely sure how this works on bumps and grazes - as I have no recollection of being initiated into The Magic Circle - but work it does. Maybe I was hypnotised at childbirth?

  • Distraction: This is best served with a side dish of humour. A good ol' classic in the case of injury on a hard surface is "Have you made a hole in that wall/door/floor/ping pong table?" with close inspection required. Another one I discovered the other day is asking if The Boy's uvula was wiggling. This is the hangy down bit at the back of the throat and will always be on show and wiggling during a good cry. It stunned him right out of his funk!
  • Imitating Their Cry: Caution, this does depend on your child and their likely response. The Boy on the whole thinks its mildly amusing, enough to cease the tears. Baby Girl gives me a look of pure disgust and her outrage only makes her cry more.
  • The Tickle: Again you need to gauge the type of cry before deciding to proceed up this avenue. A tantruming toddler will not find this agreeable in the least. Whereas a whinger, you know the ones that sound like an untuned violin, meh, this might possibly tune them up a bit, as will...
  • The Wiggle: As it says on the tin, everyone loves a good wiggle, try it. You can't really maintain grump face when you're wiggling.
  • The Pep Talk: Along the lines of "Man up" or "Straighten up and fly right" sometimes works, worth a try if they're in the autumn of their Toddlerhood.

  • The Negotiation: OK, how about I get you a Freddy the Frog, but you must stop crying.
  • The Boundary: I don't want to listen to crying while I'm on the toilet.
  • The Ultimatum: We are not going to the zoo if you continue to make such a fuss. Warning! Side-effects are...
  • The Follow Through: You have to actually not go to the zoo, which could be more painful that the original crying but really effective if you can bear it. Done once or twice The Ultimatum holds a fair bit of weight.
  • The Outside: Very effective, especially with very small children. The change from inside to outside is like discovering Narnia apparently.
  • The Beg: Not pretty and vastly ineffective. Sometimes makes me feel better as I laugh hysterically at my own futility.
  • The Blank: N.B. Not for the faint-hearted. I find it really hard to ignore crying, it attacks my senses like napalm, but if you can, word is it works.
  • The Hospital: This may seem extreme but it might be that there is actually something wrong with the Bubba. I have done this twice: the first time, I arrived and all I could tell them was "She won't stop crying!" by which time Baby Girl fallen asleep in my arms; the second time, she had a dislocated elbow, so go figure.
Post Script: Sometimes nothing works. Once a friend of mine, a brutish Daddy figure simply said, "They might just be having a bad day". Oh yeah, there is that, I do always feel better after a good cry.