7 Ways to Cope with a Toddler Tantrum
Ease the stress with these tips.
Toddler tantrums. Whether they start before the age of two, or at around the age of three, they are stressful on all involved. Parents get stressed out, particularly if it is in public but they are also stressful on the child. Developmentally, this is their way of communicating their frustration - they haven't learned emotional control, nor do they have the social skills to understand appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.
Here are seven ideas to help you through a temper tantrum:
- Ignore it: This is a good strategy while at home, but it is dependent upon what the tantrum is about. If your toddler is red-faced and screaming because they want something NOW, you can stay near and keep talking to them calmly but ignore the behaviour as much as possible.
- Don't give in immediately: Your toddler will quickly learn that if they scream and cry and you give them what they want straight away, then this is an effective strategy to use to get what they want.
- Keep calm: As hard as it can be, try and breath deeply and remain calm throughout the tantrum. Remember that they are not behaving this way to punish you, but because they are still young and feel out of control. This is when they really need you.
- Focus on the positive: Remember to spend time each day focusing on positive interactions with your child. Children of all ages (including teenagers!) may lash out because this is the only way to get your attention.
- Think about your schedule: A well-rested toddler is a much happier toddler. Heading to the supermarket when it's usually nap time, or filling days with too many activities is stressful on a young child. Give them lots of time for down time at home.
- Keep supplies with you: You can't ever predict when a tantrum will come, but having supplies such as a healthy snack, some water and maybe a toy can be used for distraction. Don't wait for the tantrum to be in full force before stepping in to distract.
- Be strong and consistent: Children need to know that you will be there but also that there are boundaries. Be clear as to what your limits are (such as no violence) and what the consequences are, and provide the same response every time. This will provide them with security, and having a clear plan in your head gives you something to focus on rather than responding in an emotionally negative way.
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