Taming your Toddler’s Tantrums!
Terrible Twos means the start of toddler tantrums? The actual word tantrum strikes fear with even the hardiest parent!
Really your toddler is just trying to express themselves and at times frustration sets in and displays itself as a tantrum!
Many experts agree there are certain triggers for toddler tantrums.
- Attention seeking
- Communication (lack of understanding or being able to communicate their needs clearly)
- Jealousy (new sibling)
- Physical complaints (hunger, tiredness or illness)
The best way to deal with a toddler tantrum is not to over react; in some cases parents almost end up having a meltdown of their own when trying to pacify a toddler having a tantrum!
Trying to reason with a toddler can also back fire, always remember toddlers don’t have the ability to be rational and act purely on the emotions they are feeling at that time.
Top Ten Tips for Tantrums
- Always deal with the moment, don’t delay and deal with it at a later time, it’s so common to threaten to do something but not actually carry it through! A toddler will not understand something that happened previously that day.
- The best advice is always be CONSISTENT and think carefully about what consequence or punishment you threaten as you need to carry it out. It needs to be realistic, so maybe taking away their favourite toy for a few days will be more effective than saying we won’t be going to your swimming lesson!
- Giving timeout works well for many toddlers, gives parents time to calm down and your toddler, have a specific place for time out, such as the bottom step, a chair or in their bedroom as basically you are giving your toddler no attention and it’s boring for your toddler.
- Offering choices to your toddler can curb tantrums as it makes them feel they are in control, so if you are out & about and your toddler wants to walk rather than sit in the pushchair offer two choices: “say, would you like to hold the pushchair or hold my hand when we go shopping” they have to choose one of your choices, this will give them a sense of control over the situation and it will make them less likely to throw a wobbly!
- Never take a tantrum personally it’s just your toddler/child being overwhelmed, so try to keep your voice calm and controlled and your body language relaxed. Acknowledging how they are feeling can be reassuring to them, Say ” I can see you are feeling angry about not sharing the train but you’re okay and we will sort it out”. They will start to calm down.
- Some toddlers like to be held during a tantrum, cuddle them until the tantrum passes, cuddling offers comfort and security.
- Try to diffuse a tantrum before it takes hold, distraction can work really well.
- Don’t bribe your toddler out of tantrum this will not teach them anything.
- Many experts will tell you ignore, ignore, ignore as the more attention your toddler receives positive or negative the greater the tantrum.
- Always praise the positive behaviour, toddlers/children thrive on being told they are being good and well behaved! Older children work well with star charts and offering a reward at the end of the week with a small gift, (a small car, hair clip etc).
Tantrums are exhausting for parents and at times stressful to deal with, but remember they do not last forever, follow a few simple steps and and your toddler will have them less and less…..