Meet the Children

The Magical Three Hours

June 27, 2012

There comes a time when we parents notice some behavioral changes in our young ones. As early as a few months old, some of us would have noticed that our babies have began to learn how to throw a tantrum or two.

Blake started showing signs of throwing tantrums a little before 12 months old. It started with really crazy cries, when he does not get what he wants. Over time, it progressed from crying, to throwing of things, and to all out kicking and punching.

There was even a period where he will slam himself backwards onto the floor, and hurt his head in the process, making him cry even harder. Once he knew that by doing that, he will feel pain, he started to lower himself slowly to the floor when he is throwing tantrums. It was a funny sight, in an extremely frustrating moment.

Being a first time parent, I was at a complete lost as to what I should do when Blake throws tantrums.

Initially, it got me really worked up, and I’ll completely lose it. I would shout at him, and beat his diaper-padded buttocks. I admit. I am pretty short tempered. Whenever this happens, if Sean’s around, he would deal with the situation for me, while I went elsewhere to cool off. If he’s at work, he would either message, or call to comfort me.

After a few months of this crazy tantrum cycle, I knew something must be done immediately to stop this vicious cycle. I went to research on how to deal with tantrum throwing toddlers.

Some experts suggested reasoning with them. I tried, and it did not work. I’m guessing your toddler needs to be able to communicate with you verbally for that to work.

Some suggested the ignore method, which I use personally, but it’s quite a long and noisy process because you will have to let your toddler cry till they know they are not getting any attention from you. And, it’s probably not the best method when you’re out in public places.

Other suggestions included the naughty corner, and reward system. The former would be good, if Blake knew what was going on, and knows how to sit still in a corner. The latter was not something I was very keen on because every time I think of rewards, I’m thinking of the need to buy toys and whatnots. After further research, I realize that a simple hug, or a kiss, or anything fun is also a good reward for a toddler! But just the reward system alone was not enough. Something else was needed to help reduce it further.

Then, I came across this article by The AsianParent. It has nothing to do with dealing with tantrum throwing toddlers, but trust me; the answer is in the article.

It said that toddlers between 1 – 4 years old need an average of three hours physical activities daily in order to develop positively, physically.

I showed Sean the article, and we decided to do as advised. What harm could it possibly do? It’s always good to have physical activities, and to get a head start in leading a healthy lifestyle. It might also motivate me to return to my own exercise routine, and this time, I will have a little partner along with me! 🙂

So for the past week, we did physical activities with Blake whenever we could, clocking three hours or a little more. It also helped that he went to school for most parts of the day, where they do quite a lot of physical activities too (and help with some disciplining) – this was also included in the three hours.

Then we begun to notice changes in our little boy – less tantrums were thrown, more laughing and sitting still, he even started going to bed on time! His appetite became much better too! It really is quite amazing to see this change. It was definitely not something we expected! We are guessing that by wasting his energy on all these activities, he does not have the energy to throw tantrums. It also puts him in a happier mood too. The magical three hours worked!

Before anyone thinks this method gets rid of tantrums completely, well, it does not. Blake still throws a little tantrum here and there, especially when he wants to attempt something rather dangerous during the physical activities, and we forbid him. But he recovers very quickly from it when we get him to move onto another physical activity!

Getting enough exercise and play really puts all of us in a better mood!

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