Toddlers and their tantrum – these often go hand-in-hand. Once your sweet baby reaches the age of two, you’ll probably notice a huge change in their behavior! Tantrums can be exhausting to deal with, and they can make you feel very stressed and frustrated. Here we have some tips to help you handle them and learn how to prevent your toddler from having meltdowns over everything.
Know what triggers your child
If you can see what is causing your toddler to have tantrums, try and avoid the situation where possible. Of course, this isn’t always possible but it can help. For example, if your child hates getting their shoes and coat on, let them try and do it by themselves. If they always fight with their friends over a certain toy, put it away next time they have a playdate.
It might also be that your child is having a tantrum because they are hungry, tired or over-stimulated. Try to follow a daily routine with your child to avoid him becoming too hungry or tired. Some children also scream or have a tantrum because they aren’t getting enough attention. Make sure your child gets a reasonable amount of attention from you even when you are busy with other tasks.
Give your child choices
Often, tantrums happen when your child isn’t getting their own way. Try and give your child simple choices, so they will feel more in control. Keep it simple, like asking them what color of jumper or shoes they want to wear, or if they would like peas or carrots with dinner. By giving your toddler choice, they will be much less likely to have a tantrum as a result of not getting what they want.
Help your child use words
Often, toddlers outgrow tantrums as they become better at speaking. Encourage your child to use words to describe their emotions, to help them better understand how they are feeling. For example, try using phrases like ‘I know you are feeling angry because you want to keep playing rather than going to the store’. Once your toddler can understand and label his emotions, he will gradually learn to control them better. If your child can use words to explain what he wants and why, he is much less likely to kick off as a result of not getting his own way.
Don’t give in
If your child is having a tantrum because he doesn’t want to do something you have asked, don’t give in! For example, if you are going somewhere, attempt to leave again as soon as your child has calmed down rather than changing your plans. If you have said ‘no’ to something, don’t change your mind and say ‘yes’ after a tantrum. This will teach your child that having a tantrum is a suitable way to get what they want.
Say ‘yes’ as often as possible
Within reason, try and say ‘yes’ when your child asks you something as often as you can. Usually, saying ‘no’ is a big trigger for tantrums. If you can’t think of a good reason why your child can’t do something, just try to say ‘yes’. Does it really matter if your child wants to wear an outfit which doesn’t match?
Don’t show your own anger
You probably know how difficult it can be, but it’s important to try not to yell back when your toddler is kicking and screaming. Shouting will just make your child more agitated, and they will take longer to calm down. If you feel you are going to shout, take some time out, if you can, until you feel calmer. Remember, your child probably hates his tantrums as much as you do. Toddlers can become so overwhelmed with emotion during a tantrum, they can become frightened by their own behavior. Getting angry will only make things worse.
Try to act like nothing happened after the tantrum is over
Once your child has calmed down, just continue what you were doing or going to do. Don’t punish your child after a tantrum, but as we’ve mentioned already don’t reward them by letting them get their own way. If you can learn to ignore tantrums as much as possible, your toddler will realize that no good comes from them.
Don’t try to reason with your child during a tantrum
Whilst they are in the middle of a tantrum, a young child is beyond reasoning. There’s little point trying to explain things to them because they simply won’t take it on board. It’s better to just hold your child (if they are not kicking and hitting!) and speak gently until they have calmed down. Once they are able to listen to you, you can then try and explain what you are going to do next and why.
Give your child warnings when you are going to leave a favorite place
If your child always has a meltdown when it’s time to leave the playground, or their best friend’s house, give them a warning before it’s time to go. Although 2 and 3-year olds don’t understand how long ‘five minutes’ is, it can help them to prepare. For example, you could say ‘you can play for five more minutes and then it will be time to go home for lunch’. You could even try giving your child two warnings to really help them prepare for the change.
Have distractions ready
It’s best to be prepared because you never know when a tantrum will occur. Try to always carry a toy around so you can distract your child with it if you sense a tantrum coming on. Or, if they are fighting over a toy with another child, quickly divert their attention to another toy before things get out of hand. If you can’t give your child another toy when out and about, try pointing out anything that might interest them. Quickly say ‘look at that dog/tractor/car’ and you’ll hopefully find that they are distracted away from whatever was going to cause them to have a tantrum.
About the Author:
Matt Morrisey is a former teacher who has travelled all over the world teaching children English, from China to the UK Matt is well known. Matt’s parents are teachers and his only brother works for a children’s charity in UK.
Matt currently writes for www.buzzparent.com and loves to write about parenting topics ranging from kids’ toys, activities for kids, parenting hacks and lifestyle. He loves remote-control drones and can’t wait until he opens his window to allow a drone to enter with an Amazon package. Not long now.
His work has been read by readers all over the world and features on blogs and websites all over the world. Matt recently decided to go back to university to do his PhD where he looks to continue his career.