Whilst toddler tantrums are a normal part of being a parent, this doesn’t make them any easier to handle! Suddenly your cuddly baby who did and ate whatever they were told to is starting to rebel against your authority. Luckily there are lots of things that you can do to both avoid and deal with these tantrums.
Toddler tantrums are a normal part of development - they usually start at around 18 months and can last until your child is three years old. It’s unlikely that your toddler will be in a constant temper between these ages, but it might feel like that! Some children will experience regular tantrums whilst others might only explode with anger on the rare occasion. During this period of childhood, your toddler is going through lots of emotional changes which can make it impossible for them to control their temper. It’s important to remember that there’s often very little that your child can do about this outburst as it wasn’t even a conscious decision to react in this way!
Here are 9 tips on how to deal with temper tantrums and misbehaving toddlers, from one mom to another!
Though this will feel like one of the most impossible things to do when your toddler is being totally unreasonable, it’s really important to stay calm. If you are at home and unable to stay calm, take yourself into another room, push the door to, and take a few deep breaths - or scream as loudly as you possibly can into the nearest pillow. Following this, greet your child with that calm demeanor that motherhood has taught you how to master, and offer them a big hug.
Toddlers are so easily distracted, something that can actually work in our favor when they start misbehaving. Before their temper reaches its peak, try to provide them with a new and exciting activity, or get them involved in making lunch. Even pointing at the dog and pretending that he is doing something funny can be enough to turn your child’s frown into that giggly face you know and love.
Heading outside is one of the fastest ways to lift the whole family’s mood. A breath of fresh air is sometimes all we need to settle rising tempers and tantrums within the house. Pop your toddler in their favorite pair of comfortable outdoor shoes, and take a short walk or head to the nearest playpark.
Understand their needs
If your child is hungry and you need to go to the supermarket, remember to bring snacks. If they’re tired, try to avoid long visits or trips. Understanding your toddler’s needs throughout the day will make it much easier to avoid tantrums in the first instance.
Consider what your child is asking for
Have you said no without really knowing why? Is your toddler actually asking for something within reason? If they are, then remember to say yes next time. And if not, explain to them why they can’t have it as opposed to just saying no. When you understand where the anger is coming from, it can be easier to calm them down with reason.
Give lots of positive attention
Children need as much praise as they do guidance when they’re going through this critical period. Make sure that every time you ask them not to do something, you are praising them for doing something else. Whether this is taking off their own shoes, being kind to their toys, or finishing their dinner, if toddlers are always being told no and getting negative feedback, this will make tantrums much more likely.
Give them a choice
If they are having a tantrum over not being allowed a sweet treat, stay calm and offer them two very exciting healthy options instead. This way they won’t feel like they can’t have what they want and will instead enjoy having the power to choose. For example, instead of asking your toddler what they want for breakfast (and always getting ‘chocolate’ or ‘biscuits’ as the answer), offer them two healthier options such as fruit or cereal.
Lead by example
This is without a doubt one of the hardest parts of being a parent. Our children are with us all day every day and see every side of us - good or bad. This is why it is so important to lead by example. If we are constantly stressed and angry about something, our children will start to behave in the same way. The same goes for tantrums - when a tantrum hits, reacting in the same way as your child is behaving is a quick way to escalate the situation and let them know that it’s ok to act that way. Try and harness your inner calm, you’ve got this!
Don’t give in
Oh, we are all so guilty of this. The easiest thing to do is to give in to their requests and stop the tantrum, but it’s so crucial that you don’t! By giving in to their behavior, your child will think that this is what they need to continue to do in order to get what they want, and it can be a really hard habit to break. Once you’ve said no, stick to it, even if you think that you should have said yes.
Stay strong through this period of toddler rebellion, it will pass! It’s one of the most difficult times to remain reasonable and calm, but take yourself out of the situation, have a few quiet, deep breaths, and you’ll be able to approach the tantrum with a much clearer mind.