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11 Clever Ways To Keep Your Cool With A Toddler

Tantrums may be normal—except you're feeling anything but. Relax and enjoy this lighthearted list for minimizing meltdowns.

  1. Forget bribing him—bribe yourself: no yelling, and you get a piece of chocolate. Make that two pieces.
  2. Mention whatever behavior's making you nuts to your pediatrician who, guaranteed, has heard 10 times worse.
  3. Count backward from 10…
  4. …in Spanish…
  5. …which will make you think of your honeymoon in Mexico, where this (mostly) sweet child was conceived. See? Better.
  6. Make like a game show and phone a friend. Preferably one with at least one more child than you have.
  7. Place your child in a safe place and duck into the bathroom for a 30-second breather. Splash your face with water. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Stretch your backbone, and get right back out there.
  8. Talk caveman right back to your toddler: "CARSON IS MAD. MAD, MAD, MAD. BUT MOMMY SAYS NO. NO, NO, NO ELMO DVD." Will it work? Maybe. Will you feel ridiculous enough to laugh? YES, YES, YES!
  9. Let something else do the talking for you: A puppet, a stuffed penguin, a potholder. Heaven knows a potholder isn't going to curse.
  10. Imagine how your mother must have felt when you pulled the same kind of tantrum. Silently thank her, enjoy two seconds of perspective, and move on.
  11. Remember that tantrums are temporary. Sure, they may feel never-ending right now, but in five minutes, you’ll be snuggling with your toddler, reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the umpteenth time, wondering what all the fuss was about.
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