Toddler’s Tantrum Busting Tips That The Books Just Don’t Teach You
When you’re a parent you’ll inevitably be forced to deal with the occasional meltdown, (especially those in public!). The screams, hysterics and crazy demands of an irrational, tired, mini-dictator who lacks any impulse control whatsoever are the stuff of nightmares. But however frustrating they are, tantrums are an undeniably part of toddlerhood.
Between the ages of one and four, nearly 90 % of children will have occasional tantrums. They involve children expressing their anger and frustration by crying, screaming, hitting, kicking, holding their breath. and any form of Mortal Kombat that you can imagine.
While every toddler is different and “meltdown triggers” will be different from one child to the next. But some of the key reasons are:
- They want something that they can’t have
- They are overtired, hungry or unwell
- A fear or anxiety that they are unable to explain
- They are unable to accomplish something on their own
- Your tone and behavior towards them – they sometimes just need your attention
Of course, how one parent handles a potential tantrum doesn’t mean that same method will work for you and yours. But here are some ways you can try and mitigate those moments when your little ones have big feelings.
It’s not the time to reason with your child
As a parent, you constantly want to calmly reason with your child to get to the root of the problem, but you can’t do that in the middle of a tantrum. During a tantrum, the reasoning part of your child’s brain is not working. Your reasoning will probably just frustrate your child more and make the meltdown even worse.
It’s important to remember that when your little one becomes emotional, she/he is not being naughty. They just simply can’t control their frustration and have no other way of communicating their feelings. Hold on and this too shall pass.
Distract, distract, distract
Thankfully toddlers have a short attention span and are easily distracted. Learn what things will switch your little one’s focus and you may be able to quickly defuse the screams. A toy, a book, an activity or going out to grab some fresh air can help and bring immediate relief.
Don’t Ask Questions
You might be desperate to understand what’s causing your little one to have a meltdown, but trying to ask questions in the middle of a tantrum is a useless endeavor. A 2-year-old often doesn’t have the cognitive resources and the language to express what she’s feeling. They’re already frustrated and overwhelmed, and firing questions at them can only make it worse.
Don’t Make Empty Threats
‘I am leaving the room’ to ‘Boogeyman will come and take you away’ – Refrain from any kind of threat during a meltdown. Realize that a tantrum is at its peak because of a reason – adding stress, anxiety, and a threat to that moment will only aggravate the moment.
Post-tantrum, follow through with the original demand that started the fit in the first place. If she got upset because you told her to pick up a toy, she should still pick up that toy once she’s calm. Once your child follows through and picks up the toy, praise her. After all, that is the positive behavior you want her to remember and repeat,
Hug & Comfort
When your little one has completely derailed and her tantrum has erupted into a full-blown meltdown, hold her firmly. The deep pressure is calming. Hugs make kids feel secure and let them know that you care about them, even if you don’t agree with their behavior.
Don’t always give in
Easy to preach but extremely difficult to practice. But, one of the biggest mistakes parents make in dealing with tantrums are either rewarding them with exorbitant amounts of attention or giving in to the child’s demands out of exasperation. If you can sit calm and sail through the screaming, yelling and take the tantrum in your stride as a normal expression of development, your child will realize that tantrums are ineffective and will grow out of them in time
Tantrums are inevitable, but the one thing to always remember when your toddler loses it is that their behavior is not a reflection of your parenting. In the toddler world, a tantrum is one of the only ways they know how to express their anger or frustration.
And like Drew Barrymore says – “Keep bubbles on hand. You cannot tantrum if you are breathing and you cannot blow bubbles without breathing. You can’t tantrum while smiling and you can’t catch bubbles without lots of smiles. Quick distraction to get back to calm”.