A fellow mom recently came to me and confided that she’s so stressed out because her toddler is constantly whining, screaming, kicking and even hitting just to get what she wants.
I sympathized with her because my 3 year old went through a similar phase and believe me, it wasn’t easy.
Temper tantrums are normal in toddlers and there are a variety of reasons that could be causing it.
Now that we’re stuck at home with the kids all day, the last thing we need is to have to deal with irritating temper tantrums that seem to last for hours on end.
In today’s post, you’re going to learn how to deal with temper tantrums in toddlers based on my own experiences dealing with my child’s tantrums.
What Is A Temper Tantrum?
A temper tantrum is an intense explosion of emotions that involves whining and crying to screaming, kicking, hitting, and breath holding.
Temper tantrums are more often in some kids while others rarely have them. If you’re lucky, your toddler falls in the latter.
However, as parents, we must understand that temper tantrums are a normal part of child development so all we can do is learn how to deal with them.
How To Deal With Temper Tantrums In Toddlers
Any parent will tell you that it’s not easy to deal with temper tantrums in toddlers. It takes a lot of practice.
First-time parents will have a much harder time dealing with a temper tantrum but with a bit of practice, you’ll get the hang of it!
But before we can learn how to deal with temper tantrums in toddlers, we must first understand why it happens.
Why Do Kids Have Tantrums?
So, as I said before, there are a variety of reasons that cause tantrums.
For example, the child could be tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. Another, more common reason for temper tantrums is wanting something that they cannot get.
This could be a toy, a snack, or even a parent.
Sometimes, they just throw a tantrum because they don’t seem to be getting their own way.
As parents, it can be hard to not give in to our child’s wants just to put an end to the tantrum as soon as possible.
You Need To Handle Tantrums With Care
Temper tantrums are part of a child’s development and how you handle it can have an impact on them for the rest of their lives.
What does this mean?
Children are not born with the ability to manage their own emotions. They learn this through life experiences.
One of these life experiences is temper tantrums.
If you don’t handle a temper tantrum correctly today, you’re stunting your child’s ability to handle his or her own emotions in future.
This can lead to so many problems in the child’s life including stress, anxiety, aggression, and even alcohol & drug abuse.
How To Deal With Temper Tantrums In Toddlers- 8 Proven Ways
1. Try To Avoid Tantrums If You Can
The first and most obvious way to deal with temper tantrums in toddlers is to avoid them altogether.
- Reduce stress – Your toddler could be tired, hungry and uncomfortable all of which lead to stress. Identify the factors that cause stress to your toddler and try to minimize them as much as possible.
- Give plenty of positive attention – Reward your child when he displays positive behavior so he can learn that that’s how he should behave at all times. If you reward, negative behavior, you’re reinforcing it and your child will continue behaving that way because he doesn’t know better.
- Choose your battles – Before outright denying all your child’s requests, think it over since it might not be as bad as you think. If what your child is asking for is acceptable, give it to him because it will avoid an unnecessary tantrum.
- Out of sight, out of mind – If there’s a toy that you don’t want your toddler to play with, keep it out of his line of sight. If he doesn’t see it, chances are that he won’t even remember to ask for it!
- Distract your child – Children generally have a very short attention span. He could be crying about something one minute and the next he’s moved on to something else. Take advantage of his short attention span to shift his attention to something else.
What if I’m not able to stop the tantrum?
2. Keep Your Cool
The quickest way to escalate the situation is to lose your temper.
You first need to be calm in order to help your child. This means not letting your emotions get the better of you.
If you can’t be calm, at least pretend to be for the sake of your child. Keep your voice calm and level, and act deliberately. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment.
3. Try To Restore Emotional Balance
At this time, your child is upset and his emotions are all over the place. The best thing you can do for him at this point is to try and restore his emotional balance.
You can do this by providing comfort through a hug. You can also use assuring words such as “I know” and “you must feel very upset”.
As you’re doing this, you must also ensure that you’re calm because if you’re not, your child will notice, and no amount of hugs or words will be enough to calm him down.
You must remember that not every situation calls for this approach.
If your toddler is throwing a tantrum because he’s tired or hungry, you can handle it with comfort.
However, this approach won’t do if the tantrum is because he’s not getting his way.
4. Acknowledge Your Child’s Feelings
Your child is feeling a lot of strong emotions right now and you need to acknowledge that.
The temper tantrum could escalate because your toddler feels like you don’t understand him or where he’s coming from.
Acknowledging your child’s feelings prevents the tantrum from getting more out of control.
For example, ‘It’s very upsetting when you cannot play with your doll, isn’t it?
5. Do Not Give In
Although I know you’re tempted to, Do NOT give in to your child’s demands during a tantrum.
That’s because it will prove to your child that a tantrum is the best way to get what he wants and he’ll continue doing it.
Be kind but firm in your stance.
For example, do not yell at the child because this won’t help. It will actually make the situation worse.
Instead say something like, ” I understand you are very angry and frustrated. I’m sorry. But you cannot go to play outside without a sweater”
6. Take Him To A Quiet Place To Calm Down
Safety comes first.
If your kid is in danger of hurting himself during a tantrum, remove him from the situation and take him to a quiet place where he can begin to regain control of his emotions.
7. Wait Out The Tantrum
One of the most effective ways to deal with a temper tantrum is to simply wait it out.
Reasoning probably won’t work because of the flood of emotions clouding his mind.
So if you try to talking, you might make things even worse and upset your toddler more.
This is a point where it’s too late to use distractions because the tantrum is in full swing.
The only solution is to stay close to your toddler so he doesn’t hurt himself and wait it out.
8. Use Punishment As A Last Resort
It might come to a point where you have to use time out but you should only use it as a last resort.
If he gets physical by hitting or biting, then you should definitely send him to time out.
What Should I Do After A Tantrum?
1.Teach Him To Use Words To Express Feelings
Finally, when the dust has settled, teach your kid to use words to express himself rather than resorting to tantrums.
If your child is finding it hard to express himself with words, take time to teach him some vocabularies he can use.
2. Hug Him
After calming down, your child needs to be reassured that you still love him. You need to provide this reassurance with a hug and teach him what he needs to do next time instead of throwing a tantrum.
3. Develop A Strategy For Dealing With Future Tantrums
Just because this tantrum has ended doesn’t mean he won’t ever have another one. You need to be prepared for when that happens.
You can use some of the 8 strategies in this post to come up with your own method of dealing with temper tantrums in toddlers.
How are you dealing with your toddler’s tantrums? Let me know in the comments below.