Eight ways to tackle toddler tantrums
Sometimes you can see a tantrum brewing and other times you’re blindsided. Either way, it’s good to have a few go-to strategies up your sleeve.
- Distraction is always an excellent solution if you can get in quickly with something that captures their attention. “Look at that birdie over there, do you think he’s found a worm?”. “I was just thinking about that song with the teddy bear, how does it go again?”
- Acknowledge their feelings. When you’re small, it can be scary to experience these strong emotions you can’t name. Start by saying, “I can see you’re feeling frustrated and cross right now…” and it might help ease the pressure.
- Dealing with tantrums is part of parenthood but that doesn’t make it any less stressful in the heat of the moment. Once things have blown over, try and find a few minutes of calm and quiet for yourself so you can regroup – and avoid losing the plot yourself.
- Give them some space when it’s needed. There are times when the only solution is just to let the tantrum run its course. Make sure they’re somewhere safe, take a deep breath and hang on till it’s over.
- You may not always feel like embracing someone who is in the middle of a major strop, but sometimes a good old-fashioned cuddle is the answer. Crouching down at their level and holding your arms open wide might just give them the perfect opportunity to call it quits.
- Be aware of any common factors. Do meltdowns often strike right before dinnertime? Hunger can often play a role, as can tiredness.
- If someone has missed their midday nap, think twice before taking them through the supermarket at 5pm.
- Role play the scenario with a toy so your little crosspatch can see what the different outcomes could be. “When teddy feels angry he stomps his feet and it makes him feel better, but if he keeps throwing his toys around they might break and then he’ll feel sad.”
- Acceptance. Try to remember that tantrums are actually a sign that your child is growing and developing a mind of their own – something they’re going to need in the long run.
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