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I think one of the most annoying things on earth is a screaming toddler when his will has been crossed. Kind of like a siren, only it’s right in your ear. People stop and stare at you. You just know they are thinking all kinds of judgmental thoughts about you, like, “Why can’t that mom get her kid under control.” (More than likely, they’re probably thinking, “I’m glad that’s not my kid!”–not that that is any better.) And all you can think is, “I just wish I could make my baby stop crying!!!”

But now there is hope! I have learned a method that, if used consistently, will help teach a child self-control so that you don’t have to make a spectacle of yourself every time you have deny him something he wants. It’s not an overnight fix, but it with consistency it can make your life much easier!

First, though, I want you to watch this video, where I describe the technique and give a few cautions. An outline is available below for those who prefer to have things written down–or in case you want to print it.

Here are the main points:

  • Don’t use on a tiny baby or on a child who is hurt or has a real need
    • Newborns cry for legitimate needs–meet their needs!
    • Use for older babies and toddlers who are crying because their will was crossed
    • Don’t use on children over 3 years old–time outs and reasoning are better for that age
  • Start using this method at home; don’t start in public
    • It will take longer initially, then shorter each time
    • Be consistent at home; that will make it easier to deal with away from home
    • Later, when child surrenders quickly, you could use this in public to avoid attracting so much attention
  • The method:
    • Hold them, restraining arms if necessary
    • Cover mouth with your hand as they cry out
    • Do NOT cover their nose
    • Remove hand when they breathe in
    • Repeat as needed
    • Remain calm throughout (frustration feeds the child’s negative emotions)
    • Talk soothingly to them
    • Continue until they surrender–never give up before they surrender!
  • This method teaches the child self control, laying the foundation of a very valuable character trait

Something I didn’t mention in the video is that if you asked the child to do something and he started screaming, you can use this method to calm him, but be sure to bring the first issue back around, repeating as needed until he submits.

With that introduction, here is the video demonstration of the method with my son. Please note that it is short because I had been using it frequently for 2 or 3 days prior to making the video. It will not be this short the first time you try it!

Works for me! Any questions?

9 Responses

  1. Thank you!

    One other note, that might be obvious, but just in case…for the same reasons you point out to not cover their noses, you might want to skip this if/when the kiddo has a cold and his nose is totally stuffed up.

  2. #2

    Thanks for pointing this out, Rachel. I never clamp down so hard that they can’t get air around my fingers, and I always pull my hand away for the child to take a breath, but you do have a point. I would not start this or any other training method when a child is sick. However, once they are used to this method, it will work very quickly, sick or otherwise. My son now rarely takes longer than 15 seconds to stop crying. It helps him calm down and refocus.

  3. #3

    Interesting. Thank you for sharing this! I’ll give it a try. I’ve been wondering what you do with such a wee one (my son’s almost 7 months). I’ve been doing the whole, “No! You stop it!” in a firm voice, but he’s figured out that if he grins at me in between fussing that I’m not as firm…grrrr…so hopefully he’ll take me more seriously with this.

  4. #4

    I don’t agree one bit!

  5. #5

    That’s fine. If you have a better method, go for it!

  6. #6

    I have to give an amazing thank you. I have been dealing with a very emotional Toddler who frequently gets out of control. I had no idea what to do to stop it or help her until I found this. There is no way that this would’ve worked with my eldest child, but every child is different and it has worked wonders for my two year old. I think she finds it comforting that i am there & calm, helping to center her in a way that doesnt disrupt the whole household. It is all in the manner in which the parent approaches the situation. Thanks again!

  7. #7

    I just wanna say that I think its very brave to post this method, as I’m sure some will be quick to argue that it might be negative or something like that. I wish I had a strong enough spirit to do it, but sadly I can’t bring myself to do so. Thanks for posting a method to try and help other moms.

  8. #8

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong approach. Borderline abusive!! Might want to remove this video, and your teachings, before child protective services sees it.

  9. #9

    Fortunately, my husband works for Child Protective Services. It is not borderline abusive if used the way I explained it. And it has been about 7 years since I made that video and nothing has happened yet. And all my kids are too big to use this method anyhow.

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