Monday, August 12, 2013

Ten No-Prep Ways to Redirect a Fussy Toddler

Want MORE simple ways to redirect a fussy toddler?  Check out Part Two!

Sophie is getting into prime tantrum throwing territory - she is gaining independence and wants to be able to do things herself, but is easily frustrated when her abilities don't match her desires (or for that matter, when the laws of physics don't match her desires...can't help you there, darlin'.)  

I really do feel for the girl when she gets so frustrated.  She can't understand why Mommy can't move the wall so she can push her walker through.  So, if it's not something I can help her problem solve (she's usually not interested in once she gets to the fit-throwing phase anyway), I move on to a different plan of attack - the diversion.  

Here are some of my go-to options for redirecting a frustrated toddler!

Climb Pillow Mountain.  I pull all the pillows from our couch and gleefully fall into them.  It's usually only a matter of seconds before Sophie chooses to join me.  If nothing else, it becomes a soft landing place for rolling around upset.

Make her the Star.  Get your phone or computer and pull up videos of your little star!  My sweet little diva loves seeing herself on the computer and thinks she's the funniest baby she's ever met.  Plus, how can my heart not get a little warmer watching old videos as well? 

Do Something Silly.  This depends on what objects are readily available, but I will usually just grab something and put it on my head.  Then I just sit there until she notices (which is usually pretty quick - she likes to make sure her audience is watching).  In the kitchen?  Grab a bowl and put it on your head.  Folding laundry?  Grab a sock and put it on your nose.  Make a stuffed animal do something silly.  The possibilities here are endless.  Even a silly face would do the trick!

Start Dancing!  Sophie is a huge fan of music.  She can't resist a beat.  If I put on some music and start dancing in the living room, she'll be very interested in joining me.  Crisis averted. 

Start a Load of Laundry.  Now, I know my child may be abnormal in this area, but she LOVES laundry.  She loves to help me pour the detergent and drop clothes into the washer.  She also likes emptying baskets of clean clothes for me to fold.  If I say the word "laundry", nine times out of ten it piques her interest and she toddles to the laundry room.  Bonus: I get the laundry started.  Win-win.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt.  Find blue things in your house.  Or find as many balls as you can.  Look for circles.  Search for a toy that you know is in the other room - Sophie can't help but join in to cries of "Curious George, where are you?"  Important note: just make sure you really know where George is.  Otherwise, this plan may backfire.  Lesson learned the hard way.  

Build a Blanket Fort.  Throw a blanket or towel over a chair or the table and climb in.  This is out of the norm enough that Sophie gets curious and wants to see what I'm doing in there.  You can also hide under the blanket and let your little one come find you.  

Step Outside for Simple Water Play.  Grab a bowl of water and a "tool" of some sort - a basting/paint brush, a sponge, a turkey baster, even just a dish rag and let them "decorate" the driveway or back porch!   She knows when she sees the orange basting brush that we are about to go have some water fun - instant mood changer.

Start a Band.  We bust out the pots and pans and some spoons and have a jam session in the kitchen.  As I said, Sophie is a fan of anything that makes noise (I think it's probably safe to assume that most toddlers are).  I have some bowls and spoons on her shelf in the kitchen, but it's much more fun when Mom joins in with the good stuff.

Start without her.  This one works with all of the above tips.  If she not acting interested when I ask her to do one of these activities with me?  I just go ahead and start playing without her!  I squeal with delight and crack up at my own antics.  I may look like a fool, but I've found that as soon as I am doing something fun that Sophie doesn't want to miss out on, she stops fussing and comes to join me.  

Want MORE simple ways to redirect a fussy toddler?  Check out Part Two!

What are your favorite ways to stop a tantrum in its tracks?  

For tons more ideas be sure to visit these sites I'm linking to this week!
Tot School Tuesday at See Vanessa Craft
Tuesday Tots at Rainy Day Mum
Link and Learn at No Time for Flashcards
Show and Share Saturday Link Up at I Can Teach My Child
Trivium Tuesday at Living and Learning at Home
Tender Moments with Toddlers and Preschoolers at The Chaos and the Clutter 
Sunday Showcase at Learn Play Imagine
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings
TGIF at 123 Homeschool 4 Me


  1. HI Alicia! I am coming from Titus 2sdays.

    I appreciate your list! I am a Nana of a very opinionated toddler! I think redirection is really the way to go, so this very practical list will help me.

    So nice to meet you today!

  2. Ceil, thank you so much for stopping by! I hope this will be helpful for you! :)

  3. I currently use some of these ideas for my daycare children, but I'm excited to try some of the others, too. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Bev! I hope these help you out! :)

  4. This is a great list! I think I've used a fair few of these... :)

    1. Thanks, Danya! They get used pretty much everyday at our house, lol!