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Poll Time! Toddler Management

You have taken your two or three year old to a class for two and three year olds. Your two or three year old spends the entire class throwing a moderate tantrum. There's no lying in the floor kicking and screaming, but there is quite a bit of crying, frequent bouts of screaming, several shrill demands that the class be conducted in a different manner, and an especially unpleasant incident when you require that she leave her baby doll and stroller at the side of the room. There are also a few stretches of fairly compliant participation in the class, but the tantrum returns throughout the class.

This wasn't my child, by the way. My child would have been hauled out of there (by her pigtails, if necessary) after about ten seconds. I'm just wondering whether other people would have stayed or left in this situation.

Comments (23)

I'm a "go to the hallway" kind of person, but I imagine I would only hang out there for awhile. If my kidlet didn't chill out after several minutes, I'd go home. And, y'know, kids are kids and not every day is a good day - and sometimes they're tired/hungry/the planets are aligned wrong and you can't snap the mood - and then I just change the environment... because no one wants to listen to their OWN kid have a tantrum, let alone anyone else's.

First "Act out" - stay in, but address it. Second, out to the hall til they're chilled out. Third, home. Three strikes, that's what I'm all about ;)

I voted, but I think I would have taken her outside and had a stern discussion with her. I think it's more important children learn to behave, and they will screw up, hey they're kids, and learning is a process. She may be sick or tired, but bribing just teaches her to throw more tantrums to get what she wants.

There's positive and negative reinforcement. If the positives don't work, then resort to the negatives. Unless it's behavior she knows is bad. Then shoot to the negatives.

When my daughter starts acting up I count to 3. She knows when I hit 3 she gets a spanking. I ask nice twice, third time I say, "I've asked twice, this is the third time, 1, 2 ..." By 1 she is on her way. Point is I've been consistent with it and she knows how I will respond.

I'm not a perfect parent.


As someone who taught classes for 2 & 3 y/o's, I would suggest sticking it out. No other way for her to learn. If she got really out of hand (which it doesn't sound like she did) I'd take her to the hall and wait for her to calm down. If that didn't work (and there will be days) take her home. I would say it depends on the degree of her tantrum. Kids actually need to learn how to behave in a classroom environment. They will also test the boundaries. The only time to pull them out is if it's too upsetting and they're not ready developmentally. Hope this isn't too assvicey.

I too voted but I think if my kid was acting up that much each week or complained about going and it was a class outside of a school setting I would have just asked for a refund and tried at another time rather then continuing to go. Some times kids are just ready for some classes or the parents want it but the kids do not. I try to listen to my kid for the most part and I think I know him pretty well. I know when he is BSing me and I know when he is serious about NOT wanting to do something.

I think it depends on the situation. My kid personally (knowing her behaviors and moods) for her to act like that at a class meant something was wrong, tired, hungry, sick etc. So I'd have taken her home. If it was a first class and I was trying to get a kid used to being in a class, I'd probably stick it out longer as long as the kid wasn't disruptive. After the class i'd probably talk to the teacher about her expectations. Generally I think a 2-3 ear old class is going to have some disruptions, but if your kid is ruining it for everyone, it's time to go. We tried a 2 and under story time with Amelia, and the lady running it expected no noises at all, no standing up for the whole half hour. That definitely didn't work for us. I think I'm rambling now. LOL

Oh and my daughter is looking at your blog with me. She is fascinated by your kids pictures over on the side. She said Mia is a beautiful princess, and Owen should be called Diego. Don't ya love kids?

I'm a hallway/outside person. I recently had to deal with similar behavior at a birthday party. If she didn't calm down, we'd go home. That said, I did just bribe Addy with M&Ms to not drive her to her favorite store ... Home Depot.

It depends.

If she didn't want to be there then I would feel like taking her home was rewarding her behavior - that would make me a hallway vote.

If she had originally been excited about it and couldn't get control after given a couple of chances to do so, we would go home.

If I was completely exhausted and feeling defeated, I would bribe her with M&Ms. And a pony.

What Heather said- three strikes!

I voted for retire to the hallway; however, I should say that I would do that once, maaaybe twice depending on the circumstances. After that, we're lining out for home, hair straight back in the wind.

Been there, unfortunately. Yeah... Remove ourselves from the situation and give the kiddo a chance to settle down and come to grips that the behavior isn't acceptable, try again if possible and if they persist, we head home. However, if heading home is the end result, my child would not be happy once we got there.

Depends, does the child want to be there and is just acting up or is this something the parent wants for the child.

I would tell the child before we got there that good behavior would be rewarded with (bribe)Bad behavior would result in loss of (something specific child loves) for specific time.

And I'd follow through. If its an activity the child wants to be part of, we would leave at the first tantrum. If its an activity I want the child to participate in, first misbehavior would result in trip to the hall and a quiet talk with reminder of behavior choices.

Yes its a two or three year old but the whole world shouldn't have to be subjected to a child who can't or won't behave in an acceptable manner.

Some days it's just not in the cards for the toddler to be well behaved. If after a couple time-outs of increasing severity and distance from the activities, my daughter still acts out like that, I take her out and try again next time.

I'm a "bribe first, wait and see if it's going to continue, depart environment" sorta Mommy. I'm also, depending on my mood, a "threaten first, wait and see, depart environment" sorta Mommy - depending on my own mood atm.

I think it's important that in a preschool especially if it's a co-op (where parents are working in the class) that another person (not the parent) step in and redirect the child. Usually kids are more open to listen to other people when they are having tantrums. At least that is what I have found in our preschool experience. But if it's a situation where it's a drop off and there are teachers and students going in the hallway is a better plan.

I'd DO 3. I'd WANT to do 4.

I've left half-full grocery carts in the middle of an aisle because one of them was throwing a hissy-fit over some slight (real or imagined).
Mommy don't play that nonsense.

We nearly had to face this yesterday. Suki walked into her first music class a couple of minutes after it began. The teacher started playing her guitar and singing hello to Suki and Kate -- Suki took a look around, held up her hand to the teacher and told her sternly to "Stop that." Luckily, she figured out how much fun the class was going to be before we needed to resort to the hallway but I was already trying to figure out how to juggle the diaper bag, baby Kate and a potentially shrieking Sook out the door. Glad to hear you didn't face this situation with Mia, that poor other mom!

This actually happened to me today. I took the Mini to preview an art class at Gymboree and when he realize we weren't going on the slide and all the fun bouncy and climbing gear, he flipped the fuck out and started to jello himself. I made the best of the situation, but it was also that he was unsure of the new class, where he proceeded to nearly strangle me from gripping my neck so tight and then watch curiously, periodically crying when the teacher asked him if he wanted to participate. He kept saying "I sorry" over and over again through big sobbing heaves. I'm not sure if he was saying sorry because I told him sorry, or if he was saying sorry because he thought he had done something wrong, but it broke my heart. In that instance, I just let him sit in my lap and watch. I reassured him that it was ok, and we tried, and it was ok if he didn't like it. I got a lot of dirty looks, but quite frankly, the yuppie moms could fuck right off. He wasn't disruptive, just really unsure.

Now, if he had been a complete and total brat and making the class miserable for others, I'd have taken him home. If you're going to be bad, you don't get to participate in the fun. Simple as that.

HAULED OUT of there, given the chance to pull it together, and if that doesn't work, bringing her home.

Frankly, 2-3 years old is old enough (in my opinion) to start learning some fundamental social behavior, like pulling oneself together OR losing privileges. GRRRRR. I'm a militant Mom like that.

I always give my kids a chance to calm down before I just haul them away from a situation. I remove them from the immediate situation - like outside or to a hallway - where they can have a chance to calm down and I can have a rational conversation with them. Once they're calm we rejoin our activity, and I don't hold it against them.

I *hardly ever* give in (I wanted to type 'never', but that's too strong) to demands from tantrums, and I don't do bribery unless I'm incapacitated and it's my only option. My kids behave, or they lose privileges. Nearly everything's a privilege, too, other than breathing. Ha!

Just posted details of my first kiss in your de-lurking post only to have it rejected by your server as too many people are trying to comment. Am v. envious of your insane popularity. Pity about the goldfish though.

Note that Americans never bribe their children (my first resort) and the 53% dragging into the hall statistic confirms my impression that the USA is, in fact, the most polite nation on earth.

as the proud mommy to twin two year olds, I've so been in this situation with one or both kids at the same time. Sometimes I take them out in the hall, other times I put them in time out and walk away and try to pretend I can't hear them screaming.

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