5 Nov 2014 | 5 min Read
Author | 2 Articles
Managing temper tantrums in toddlers
1. Do you often find yourself in a power struggle with your toddler?
2. Are you hearing yourself saying “No”, “Don’t Do That”, “Not Now”, etc. way too often?
3. Are social gathering or outings making you think twice now?
4. Do you feel tired and angry most of the time’s these days?
If most of your answers were a ‘YES’, you may want to continue reading and finding out, how you can help your little one and yourself too!
Maybe your child can’t find the words to express his or her thoughts or feelings. Whatever the challenge, frustration with the situation might trigger anger, resulting in a temper tantrum.
If your child is thirsty, hungry or tired, his or her threshold for frustration is likely to be lower and a tantrum more likely.
Young children don’t have evil plans to frustrate or embarrass their parents. For most toddlers, tantrums are simply a way to express frustration.
For older children, tantrums might be a learned behavior. If you reward tantrums with something your child wants or you allow your child to get out of things by throwing a tantrum, the tantrums are likely to continue.
What’s the best way to respond to a tantrum?
1.Typically, the best way to respond to a tantrum is to ignore it.
When your child quiets down, you might say, “Tantrums won’t get my attention. If you want to tell me something, you have to use your words.”
2. Remember, your ability to stay calm and in control will help your child feel secure. If you lose your cool or give in to your child’s demands, you’ll only teach your child that tantrums are effective.
3. Meltdowns occur for a variety of reasons. The most common include: an inability to express feelings and desires through words; the need to assert one’s independence; feeling a lack of control; having either too few or too many limits; and hunger, fatigue, over stimulation, and boredom.
4. What to do about it: Some tactics work better than others, depending on the child.
Try these on for size and stick with what works best for your toddler.
1. Keep your cool and speak softly.
2. Seeing you lose your temper will make it harder for your child to calm down.
3. Avoid physical punishment. It’s never a good idea, but it’s especially risky at a time when emotions are soaring and you’re in danger of losing control.
4. Move a child who is physically out-of-control (thrashing, hitting) to a safe place. Pick her up firmly (without dragging or pulling).
5. If you’re in a public place, carry her outside or to your car. If that’s not convenient, hold your child tight to prevent her from hurting herself. (Some toddlers calm down when they’re held tightly.)
6. Create a distraction. Some kids can be distracted by a favourite activity.
7. Be a comedian. Use humour (funny faces, silly songs, unexpected behaviour like talking into a banana) or reverse psychology (“I don’t want to see any smiles. Try hard not to smile now. Oh no, do I see a smile?”) to coax them
8. Some toddlers, though, take offence when their tantrums are not taken seriously. If that’s the case with yours, move on to another strategy. Ignore the drama.
9. If your child gets physical during tantrums, make sure she’s safe before you try this approach.
10. Another option: Enforce a time-out.
Whatever you do, don’t give in to her demands. This only teaches the lesson that tantrums are a means to an end. If you’re out in public and she won’t calm down, consider ending the outing.
How to prevent it:
1. Ward off the “fearsome four”: hunger, fatigue, boredom, and over stimulation. To that end, make sure your child is well-rested and well-fed, avoid over scheduling, and bring healthy snacks and a favourite small toy or book when leaving the house.
2. Work with your child’s personality. For many toddlers, sticking to a regular routine decreases the risk of tantrums. Others thrive on spontaneity.
3. Cut down on the need to say “no.” This includes childproofing your home (so you don’t have to constantly cry, “No, don’t touch that!”) and setting clear limits.
4. Provide some choice whenever possible. Being able to make decisions (“Do you want to eat cereal or yogurt this morning?”) helps a toddler feel more in control.
5. Say “yes,” “no,” or negotiate a compromise, but don’t say “maybe.” In toddler translation, “maybe” equals “yes.”
Explore the entire collection of articles: Toddler Learning
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