A great question-inspired article that talks about preventing tantrums, keeping your cool, and coping with the frustration of tantrums.
When your toddler is upset, angry, tired, hungry, or frustrated he may throw a tantrum and even bite. Toddlers use temper tantrums as a way of communicating and dealing with big feelings. Tantrums can happen at any time, even when your toddler appeared well-rested and content a minute before. As your child ages into a preschooler the frequency of tantrums will decline and most children are tantrum free by age five, according to the National Association of School Psychologists.
Parents can help toddlers overcome tantrums by minimizing triggers and providing a safe and reliable environment when they are feeling overwhelmed. Young children learn trust by testing limits and having a consistent caregiver when they are not at their best. As your child grows, he will develop more control over his emotions and you can begin to use other strategies to deal with tantrums.
here are a few helpful strategies you can use to help curb toddler tantrums:
- Keep calm and use a soothing voice to talk to your child. Help your child verbalize her feelings by identifying the source of the issue and showing empathy. By saying, “I know you are angry because you want your brother’s truck,” you are teaching your child to use words to describe her feelings.
- Provide love and comfort. Gently hold your child while he is upset and reassure him that it’s OK. If your child doesn’t want to be held, stay close and wait for him to reach out to you. Seeking affection is a sign that your child may be ready to calm down.
- Avoid giving your child what he wants during a tantrum. Wait until your toddler calms down before addressing his needs. He won’t hear you while he is in the high emotion of a tantrum. When the time is right, address his underlying needs such as frustration, sleepiness, hunger, or disappointment rather than the focus of the tantrum.
- Redirect their energies to something else. Sing a song, play a game, or find an age appropriate toy to play with together. Diversions work well with toddlers.
- Don’t be embarrassed when tantrums happen in public. Most parents can sympathize with your situation. It’s appropriate to remove your child from a store, movie theatre, or other public place if you feel you need to when a tantrum happens. Ignoring behaviors often work well for older children but toddlers need help managing this behavior.
- Model emotional coping techniques. Show your child how adults can find other ways of coping with stress and anger besides yelling and screaming. Use phrases like “I'm upset now, but I'm going to figure out how to fix this.”
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This article provides strategies to help you teach your child the words he needs to express his emotions.