Tips on How to Manage Toddler Tantrums
I always say that I have mad respect for toddlers. They are incredible. They are intelligent, savvy, and have a vocabulary, and the best part is they have the drive to get their needs met and to figure out who is in charge.
Toddler tantrums are common. Behavioral outbursts often occur in children between 1 and 3 years old. However, I often see some tantrums as early as 15 months. An unexpected tantrum can be challenging for parents and caregivers, but they are a normal part of a child's development. Here are some key points to understand about toddler tantrums and how to manage them:
Causes of Toddler Tantrums:
Communication: Toddlers may still need to gain language skills to express their needs and emotions, leading to frustration.
Frustration: They may become frustrated when they can't accomplish a task or get what they want.
Independence: Toddlers are exploring their independence and asserting themselves, which can lead to power struggles.
Fatigue and Hunger: Tired or hungry toddlers are likelier to have tantrums.
How to Manage Toddler Tantrums:
Stay Calm: Adults need to remain calm and composed during a tantrum. Stay neutral.
Safety: Ensure the child's safety during a tantrum, especially if they throw themselves on the floor or into objects.
Offer Choices: Provide simple choices to give the child a sense of control. For example, "Do you want the red or blue cup?" if you are in a sippy cup stand-off.
Distraction: Sometimes, redirecting their attention to a different activity or toy can help diffuse a tantrum.
Ignore Mild Tantrums: For attention-seeking behavior, ignoring the tantrum can be effective. But make sure the child is safe and not harming themselves.
Time-away: A brief time-away from a social environment in a safe place for more severe tantrums can help the child calm down. A parent can be present but needs to remain calm and neutral without reacting.
Consistency: Be consistent with rules and consequences to help your child understand boundaries.
Positive Reinforcement: Praise and reward good behavior to reinforce positive actions.
Mirror Emotions: Help your child learn to express their feelings verbally by modeling appropriate language for emotions. Get down to your toddler's level and say, "I can see you are mad"; this will help them understand their big feelings and feel seen and heard.
Routine: Stick to a consistent daily routine so your child knows what to expect.
Sleep and Nutrition: Ensure your child gets enough sleep and is well-fed.
Anticipate Triggers: Be aware of situations or events that might trigger tantrums and try to prevent them when possible.
Seek Professional Help When Necessary:
If tantrums are excessively frequent and intense or persist beyond the toddler years, it may be a sign of an underlying issue. In such cases, consult a pediatrician or child psychologist for guidance.
Remember that toddler tantrums are a development phase, and with patience, understanding, and consistent parenting techniques, you can move through these challenging times effectively.
The goal is to teach your child to be resilient when they have big feelings and to provide a loving and supportive environment while setting appropriate boundaries for their children.