For the past two years (shortly after Mercedes' second birthday) our house has had some sort of space for the girls to go when they need to chill out or calm down. For Mercedes, it is a pouty sort of spot (we call it her Chill Spot) where she goes to think about making a better choice, or coming up with a solution, or just be angry for a while before she's ready to talk about what happened or apologize. For Emerald, it's more of a Tantrum Spot. She's allowed to scream all she wants but it has to be in her spot. This girl is intense. When she gets angry, she is like a volcano bursting with fury and exploding all over the house. She has been known to scream for as long as 3 1/2 hours over not getting her way. No exaggeration. My mom has been a witness to this. She could not believe it and was sure I was making it up until she saw it for herself. I'm sure that Emerald is going to grow up and be able to accomplish amazing things with her strong will, determination, dedication to whatever cause she is fighting for and her ability to never give up. Ever. No matter what. However, the screaming is getting on everyone's nerves, and it has become clear that once the screaming begins she has no intention of stopping. Ever. And has no ability to calm herself down.
So one day when she was NOT angry, the two of us had a talk and came up with a few things for her to do when she got mad. I wrote them on some pretty paper and hung the list over her Chill Spot rug. We practiced them and practiced them. Then the first time she started throwing a fit, I told her, "Quick! Run to your chill spot and let's do your mad list!" And we went through the whole thing. By the time we got to the jumping jacks she was laughing hysterically and could not remember why she was mad in the first place. This has worked wonders for her tantrums. Sometimes we have to go through the list multiple times. But the end result is always smiles and giggles and hugs and kisses. Usually in less than 5 minutes. No more 3 hour long fits over here! We are all so relieved.