Toddler Timeout

Little Miss Cranky Pants

In Fatherhood by The Unexpected Dad8 Comments

Ever had one of those days where your toddler seems to throw one big temper tantrum all day long? My daughter turned 2 a couple of weeks ago, thus we have entered the “terrible twos”. There was a time when I wasn’t really a believer in the terrible twos, but this was before we actually got here. Now I believe!

The Melt-Down

There are days when Brooke seems to throw a fit about almost anything, from having to go to bed to not having the right person pick her up. Most of the time it seems like nothing will work when we try to calm her down. But in the last several weeks we have had some level of success with the “time out” method. I know, surprising huh? Even more surprising is that she initiated it herself.

There are some evenings when the bedtime routine can cause difficulties, even the mention of getting ready for bed can cause a melt-down. One evening several weeks ago we were going through our nightly bedtime routine,and the time came to brush teeth. I don’t know why, but brushing teeth was not something Brooke wanted to do at the moment. Kicking a screaming ensued and no amount of persuading or bribing would help, it actually seemed to make matters worse.

The Calm-Down

Then just out of the clear blue sky our little toddler grabbed a doll and sat down on the floor of her bedroom. We asked her if she would like a few minutes to herself and she responded with “yes”. My wife and I left the room and grabbed the video monitor to keep an eye on her. Almost immediately she stopped crying and sat there in her little timeout hugging her doll.

After about 5 minutes we went back in the room and asked her if she was now ready to brush her teeth and she responded with a weak little “yeah”. The remainder of the bedtime routine went by with absolutely no drama.

Wow, that was amazing to us. Not only because she knew that things weren’t going so great, but also because she came up with a solution! Proud daddy right here!

The Low-Down

So what did I learn from this little episode?

  1. There are times when a toddler may feel overwhelmed with the current situation and doesn’t know what to do or how to respond. I believe at times this confusion can help bring on a temper tantrum, especially when coupled with fatigue. One thing I need to keep in mind is to slow down and let her process things at her own pace (when reasonable).
  2. She wants to behave and be a good girl, and she knows when she is misbehaving. If we give her a chance to calm down and correct herself, a temper tantrum can be short-lived. I understand that a “time out” won’t work every time and in every situation, but it’s something we cab add to our parenting toolbox.
  3. Start the bed time routine a little earlier when she is not so tired. When we get her ready for bed earlier we have extra quiet time to help her wind down. This is much better than attempting to get her ready in a compressed time frame.

Yes, we have entered to terrible two’s. I also hear about the terrible three’s and the fearful fours, so I have a lot to look forward to and a lot to learn. Here’s to parenting!

+2 Years

The Unexpected Dad

The Unexpected Dad

My name is Paul and I am The Unexpected Dad.My wife and I married late in life and we didn’t really expect to have children (thus the title of my blog). We weren’t opposed to the idea of having children, but just assumed that it was not in the cards for us.

I write about the rather unexpected journey of fatherhood, please join me!

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  1. Elizabeth Storie

    Oh, I actually miss those toddler days… My personal experience with my two kiddos, is that the ‘terrible twos’ is a walk in the park compared to the ‘trying threes’ If your little one is testing her limits now be prepared for that to possibly triple in intensity when she turns three. That was my experience! And I have a lot of friends who have agreed.

    1. The Unexpected Dad Author
      The Unexpected Dad

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Something to look forward to I guess. 🙂

      Actually, sometimes her temper tantrums are cute and a little funny to watch, especially now that she’s talking a lot. There are times I have to try and keep from smiling when she’s having a melt-down.


  2. Carl Wright

    A very catchy title for this post, and I enjoyed reading it. My wife and I have 4 grown children. It seems so long ago from those toddler years. This brought back memories. You’re doing great. 🙂

    1. The Unexpected Dad Author
      The Unexpected Dad

      Hi Carl. Thanks for the comment! Time goes by so quickly, glad I was able to help bring back good memories.


  3. Pickabest Product

    Hi Paul, I think sometimes we as parents are so overwhelming with protecting our children, they just wish to be alone. My daughter is an adult and she will many times tell me” Mum, just give me some space”. I also get lost if too long between people. perhaps it is of growing up alone. My brother was more than 7 years younger than me. So I grew up alone and today I am still working out escape routes when I feel overwhelmed by a person or people. Perhaps she just had a bad day herself, with emotions, she can’t know at the stage of 2+ years. Betsie Richter.

    1. The Unexpected Dad Author
      The Unexpected Dad

      Hi Betsie. That is a great point, I agree. I am the same way, sometimes I just want to be alone for a little while and recharge.

  4. Martin

    Hi! I love this post.

    I have a similar experience with my 3 yo. Meltdowns have become a very regular thing. She usually cannot calm down by herself so we try to help her but oh boy is this exhausting! 😂😂😂

    Anyway, we don’t yell, we don’t overreact and we are open to discuss and hug at any point during the process of the calm-down.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. The Unexpected Dad Author
      The Unexpected Dad

      Hi Martin.

      We go though similar things where our daughter can’t calm down on her own either. I agree with you, yelling and overreacting don’t get us anywhere, and sometimes a hug is really all that is needed.

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