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Popular TikTok Reveals One Key Tip to Shorten Your Child's Tantrums

See why one parenting coach is making the case for zipping your lips during your toddler's next meltdown.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published June 10, 2024
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Although much can be scheduled and planned ahead of time, whether you like it or not, there’s a lot of parenting that is simply beyond your control. One of those things is toddler tantrums. While you can’t stop them from happening, you can choose how you respond to them. It’s not always easy but having a strategy for how to respond to your child’s temper tantrums can make all the difference between a 20-minute meltdown and a 2-minute moment.

Parenting coach Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta recently shared a now-popular TikTok addressing the one thing parents are doing that might be extending the time of their toddler’s tantrum and it’s simpler than you think. “The number one thing I see parents doing during meltdowns that increases the length, frequency, and intensity of tantrums—Talking,” she says in the video.

“When a child is having a meltdown, they are in the part of the brain that governs fight, flight, safety. Language lives in the prefrontal cortex…But in a meltdown tantrum moment, your child isn’t in the prefrontal cortex. They’re in the base of the brain. So they are much more likely to experience your language as added chaos and commotion,” Hauge-Zavaleta explains. “They’re already in a meltdown, and then you layer words on top of it, and it just is more to process, more going on, more chaos, more commotion. I want you to stop talking, zip it, and use space to your advantage to support your child.”

Hauge-Zavaleta suggests caregivers try “body interventions” instead of talking their way through the moment. From big movements to chewing ice, having a hug or getting a back rub, these physical interactions can not only distract your child but also provide them with a beginner’s way to ground themselves when feeling intense emotions.

Like any new parenting approach, Hauge-Zavaleta is quick to note that it might not work for everyone and it will likely take some getting used to, but with a little luck and plenty of patience, you just might find your little one’s meltdowns resolve a little quicker.

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