The First Hints of Tantrums

Month 17
Month 18
Month 20

Last Month's Wow:

Playing Pretend + Solo Play

Baby is ready for a deeper level of play full of adventures that opens up a whole imagination landscape. 

The Wow of Now:

The First Hints of Tantrums

Baby has strong feelings and limited ways to express them. This discrepancy between what baby understands or experiences vs limited vocabulary to make their feelings known is a recipe for tantrums.

The Wow Ahead:

Memory and Storytelling

A growing vocabulary opens up opportunities to deepen understanding. The survival brain expands to include past and future events, while improving memory solidifies a sense of identity and promotes a sense of future possibilities and adventure.

The Wow

A tantrum is just a physical manifestation of frustration. This frustration is due to baby’s language development not being able to keep up with their more advanced thoughts. When they are in the middle of a tantrum, they are unable to process anything you’re saying. That’s because emergency survivor mode has been triggered. Rationalizing, explaining, threatening, shaming, blaming, or bribing won’t work. Our survivor brain is designed to get our needs and passions met now.  So words like “not now!’ or “no!” can be all it takes to trigger a tantrum in a toddler. This may seem utterly irrational…because it is: When the survivor brain (limbic system) is triggered, it temporarily hijacks higher rational thinking.  
As baby enters this new toddler-tantrum stage, it’s time to teach them what “recovery” feels like. That’s a big victory that strengthens communication between “survivor brain” and rational brain,” leading to better emotional regulation in later years.

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