Tantrums are a normal part of growing up. Toddler’s aren’t bad when they are having a tantrum, they are just acting their age. Almost all children between the ages of one and three have a few temper tantrums. This just means they have finally gotten a sense of their own individuality. A temper tantrum every now and then doesn’t mean anything; there are bound to be some frustrations. A surprising number of tantrums are a result of fatigue and hunger, or of putting a child into a situation that exceeds their capabilities for coping.
I wish I could give you one surefire way to help eliminate or eleviate tantrums, but I can’t. Like most of the more challenging behaviors of childhood, this to will pass. I’ve provided some suggestions to help minimize tantrums.
Nothing accelerates the intensity of a tantrum more than a worked up parent. Seeing you lose your cool will only make it more difficult for your toddler to compose himself.
Screaming over your toddler’s screams will only encourage your toddler to scream louder. A gentle tone of voice assures your toddler that you are in control.
Resorting to physical punishment to end a tantrum is a bad idea. You would only be punishing your child for something that they can’t control. You also could lose yourself and inflict serious anger on your child.
Protect your toddler from dangerous surroundings. Move the child who is physically out of control to a setting that is safer for everyone and everything.
Some children can be easily distracted during a tantrum while others only get more upset. If your child can be distracted, try reading a favorite book or turn on a favorite song.
Speak at your toddler’s level. It can be very intimidating to a young child to have a bigger person standing over them while they have lost control of themselves. Sitting on the floor will help to even out the situation, making it easier to communicate with your child.
Often the best course of action, is no action at all. Continue to go about your business making a very conscious effort to ignore the situation. Eventually your toddler will realize that it’s just no fun to get worked up when no one is watching. Obviously, ignoring a tantrum is not a feasible option while you are in a store or public place. See below for more information on how to handle a public tantrum.
For some children, especially the older ones, a time out provides a much needed cooling off period. This will give them the composure that they need to take control of themselves and the situation.
As much as we all dread the thought of a public tantrum (and it happens to the best of us!) they will inevitably happen at one time or another. Here are some tips on how to handle the situation.
Avoid public outings when your toddler is especially prone to having a tantrum. A hungry, tired, bored or overextended child is a recipe for disaster.
Praise your child for good behavior whenever you come home from a tantrum free trip.
While out in public and you can sense a tantrum in the making, try a quick change of subject.
If distraction isn’t the key, try moving your toddler to a more private place. Pick him up firmly, not violently, and carry him elsewhere. Going outside or to a bathroom should work. If your toddler is used to a time out, give her one now. Just because you are in public doesn’t mean you should change your discipline behavior. If you don’t follow through with the same discipline as you would in a more private place this will only encourage your child to misbehave in public more often. Your child should be kept on track with firmness, consistency and more importantly, love.
Unfortunately some people truly have nothing better to do than to scrutinize the parenting skills of another. Learn to ignore the beaty eyes when you are in this situation. This tantrum is between your toddler and you…no one else. Concentrate on the task at hand and keep your cool.
No matter how tempted you may be, do not give in to your toddlers demands just to regain some peace. Doing so will just feed and encourage the next tantrum.
When the tantrums over, let it go. If your toddler manages to compose himself quickly, offer praise. Don’t rehash the tantrum or lecture your child about it. Many toddlers enjoy being held after a tantrum, as a reassurance of your love for them.