Temper tantrums are par for the course with toddlers. As they begin to understand how the world works, what they like and don’t like and gain a little independence their lack of communication skills, frustrations and they fact they often live on a fine line with their emotions can lead to temper tantrums. Toddlers throw tantrums for all kinds of reasons from being upset because you are withholding something they want to being overstressed and not knowing how to express that. The key to dealing with your toddlers tantrums is figuring out what triggers them and finding a way to resolve the tantrum without giving in.
We’ve all been there, walking through the store with our toddler screaming at the top of their lungs. We’re embarrassed and want nothing more than to make them stop. We’ve also all witnessed this happening to another parent, feeling bad for them and wanting to just say to them “It’s ok, I’ve been there.” Parents often fear they are raising “that child” the holy terror that can’t be controlled. But fear not, every toddler throws a tantrum every now and then.
So, what can a parent do to help control the tantrums? Here are a few tips:
- Keep your cool. I know it can be hard sometimes, but if you react strongly to their tantrum you are showing them that, that is the way to react when you are mad, upset, frustrated, etc. Staying calm and reacting with a cool head is the best approach.
- Don’t give into unreasonable demands in order to stop the tantrum. You are the adult and make the rules. If you said no to something or took something away don’t back down just because your child throws a fit.
- Attempt to use distraction (this won’t always work). If your child is throwing a fit because they can’t play with a certain toy try to get their attention with another toy.
- If time-outs work for your child then try that. Sometimes have a few minutes alone to just get their emotions out is helpful.
- Get down on their level and talk about the situation once they have calmed down a bit, and offer them an alternative. Say something like “I understand that you are upset that we can’t go outside right now, but how about we color instead.”
- Avoid tantrum triggers. If your child always melts down when she is hungry or tired plan ahead. Make sure she eats when she is hungry and try to avoid having her be overtired by making sure she gets enough sleep.
It is impossible to avoid all tantrums, they will happen now and again. Keeping your cool during the tantrum, talking about it afterwards and avoiding tantrum triggers will at least help reduce the number of tantrums and make those that do happen a little more bearable.
What do you do when your toddler has a meltdown? What works best to avoid them and then curb them when they do happen?