How to Handle Toddler Tantrums
As parents, we all have our “war stories” about how to handle toddler tantrums. Who hasn’t been in the middle of the grocery store and watched their lovely child re-enact a scene from The Exorcist? Does this scenario sound familiar? Do you usually give in to your little darling’s demands out of frustration and public embarrassment?
We have all been that frazzled shopper. For some youngsters, getting them to eat their vegetables or go to bed ends up in a meltdown that is exhausting for everyone. It helps to do some research and advanced planning to know how to handle toddler tantrums effectively. When you understand the root of the problem, you may find solutions that can make life a little easier for the whole family.
Why do toddlers have tantrums? You work so hard to teach them the right way to behave, yet they don’t always listen. Like all human emotions, anger is part of your child’s genetic makeup. Even an infant has its own will and will wail in frustration when it is not satisfied. As they get into the “terrible twos”, many toddlers are ready to test their anger skills to the limit.
Children throw tantrums for the same reason we adults do, just on a different level. Anger is the easiest emotion to show. When we are tired, frustrated, or feel like things are out of control, anger is often our first response. The same is for our youngsters. When they see that their little fit has produced the right response from you, toddlers can continue this manipulation. Here are some useful insights that may help you learn how to handle toddler tantrums:
Know the toddler Tantrum Triggers
- Chaotic Schedules
Since every child’s personality is different, what works for one may not work for another. During the day, do you notice times when your child is more alert, cheerful, and cooperative? Some kids may not be early birds and can be grumpy in the mornings, while some are a ray of sunshine. Having a daily schedule gives your child a sense of security and control. Knowing your child’s personality and incorporating it into your regular schedule may keep their frustration in check. Even during hectic times like vacations and holidays, keeping your child on schedule can keep them calmer.
Put yourself in your toddler’s place. What are some situations that put you on edge and make you more likely to snap in anger? Fatigue is often the main culprit for adults and children. When your little one is stomping and raging, it may be a sign that he is just tired. Keeping regular nap and bedtime schedules can ward off exhaustion and keep moods level. If your toddler has experienced an exhausting day, minimizing activities may bring a sense of calm that they need.
Nutrition experts warn us never to go shopping hungry. When you are strolling down the grocery aisle with a growling stomach, junk food is more appealing, and your fuse is probably short. If your child is hungry, no wonder he is grouchy and howling for a bag of marshmallows. Shopping on a full stomach may thwart embarrassing scenes. Maybe bringing a little snack along can help if your child gets the munchies. Being prepared can help you know how to handle toddler tantrums.
How many times have you heard your children whine, “I’m bored!” While hearing this constant complaint may sound like nails scraping across a chalkboard, it has validity. To keep focused attention, a child’s mind must be challenged. It is how the brain develops necessary life skills. Even adults feel listless and irritable when they are bored. Keep your little one’s mind busy with small toys, games, or coloring books. Take a walk outside and let them discover the joys of nature. Curiosity will keep boredom at bay, and It will make the toddler less likely to have a tantrum.
- Being Overwhelmed
Do you know how you feel at the office when the boss dumps a stack of papers in your “to do” box at 4:30 p.m.? In your sense of being overwhelmed, you might snap at a coworker with little provocation. Children will also react in anger when they are overstimulated. Even a festive holiday with a crowd of people and a pile of gifts can short-circuit a little one’s mood.
Sometimes, taking your toddler to the side and having some quiet time may calm their nerves. Instead of having an angry meltdown, they might fall asleep. If you know how to handle toddler tantrums before they happen, holidays and other busy times may be less stressful.
In the Eye of the Storm
Even with advanced planning and playing out scenarios in your mind, your child is still human and can throw an embarrassing fit. How you react as the parent can make the difference between a resolution or an exhausting struggle. If you know how to handle toddler tantrums before they get out of hand, it is best for you and your child.
Your family is gathered at a public place, and your little angel decides that they would rather be playing outside. After he holds his breath until he turns blue and then starts to wail, what do you do? Take a deep breath, and try some of these strategies:
- Take Away the Spotlight
At the earliest age, children learn that getting attention can often mean they get their demands met. If possible, take your toddler to a public nursery or to a quiet room at home. While he is stomping and screaming, try your best not to be a captive audience. Throwing a temper tantrum requires a tremendous amount of physical and emotional energy. If your child sees that you are unaffected by his outburst and no one is watching, he may settle down.
- Don’t Be Bullied
It sounds ludicrous that a tiny two-year-old could corner an adult. Bullying is manipulating someone to what they want. When a toddler stomps their foot and screams demands, they are learning how to be a bully. What is the best strategy for defusing a bully? Calmly taking a stand, and don’t give in to their demands. By knowing how to handle toddler tantrums in a firm, gentle way, the child learns that their tantrums will not work. They will be more receptive to learning how to be obedient and the right way to get privileges.
- Try to Redirect
Children are creatures of habit. When your child has a tantrum and knows the usual outcome, he will continue the behavior. Instead of getting angry, yelling, and finally giving in, try to redirect your child. Sing a silly song or pick up a toy and talk to it. When you go past the norm with the unexpected, it can redirect your child into forgetting the tantrum and becoming interested in something else. Being proactive instead of reacting is a positive way to know how to handle toddler tantrums.
- Remember That You Are The Adult
When you are exasperated, and a child is defying you to your face, it is easy to fly off the handle and get into a shouting match. When you allow yourself to be drawn into your child’s emotional storm, no one wins. If your child sees that your way of handling situations is to have a tantrum too, then they will follow your example.
Keep your voice as calm and quiet as possible. If you feel like your temper is getting the best of you, count to ten, and breathe slowly. Spanking your child in a rage is never the answer. If you are home, you may step out of the room, and let the toddler fuss until he tires out. By creating a calm atmosphere, you can settle your child’s fit in a short time.
Learning To Handle Toddler Tantrums As You Go
Knowing how to handle toddler tantrums is not an easy task. If your child has fits of anger regardless of how hard you try to avoid them, don’t guilt yourself. As frustrating and tiresome as they are, tantrums are a natural side effect of children learning how to be independent and to test boundaries. As a parent, we redirect our children and model the right way to get positive responses to requests. If your child’s tantrums increase or become violent, then it is time to talk to your pediatrician. There could be an underlying physical or mental condition that is causing the outbursts.
With these suggestions in mind, you may calm a tantrum or prevent one from happening in the first place. Providing security and healthy boundaries for your child are an effective way to handle toddler tantrums. A peaceful home that is full of love and acceptance can turn your child’s angry outbursts into a more positive direction. In time, you will be a master and know how to handle toddler tantrums with ease.