If you’re a parent of a toddler, you know the battle is real. Toddler tantrums are one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. Some kids may have tantrums often, and others have them rarely. Toddlers want independence and control over their environment more than they can actually handle. This can lead to power struggles as a child thinks “I can do it myself” or “I want it, give it to me.” When kids discover that they can’t do it and can’t have everything they want, they may have a tantrum. Tantrums are a normal part of child development. They’re how young children show that they’re upset or frustrated. And believe it or not, they are an important part of your toddler’s emotional health and well-being.
How to stop a tantrum? YOU DON’T!
In most instances, your toddler is acting the way she does because she is trying to express her emotions and she’s still learning how to. The best you can do in that overwhelming moment, when your toddler is having a meltdown is to maintain you’re cool and let her finish. Yes you will get some unpleasant stares, some obnoxious comments and maybe, just maybe a considerate smile or nod that gives you the assurance that you are doing just fine! Here are some pointers to help you along the way.
- Don’t try to calm him down.
Ignore him unless he is physically endangering himself or others. By taking away your attention completely, you won’t be reinforcing his undesirable behaviour. Make it clear to him that hurting himself or others is not acceptable. Put him on timeout of necessary.
- Empathize with your toddler
Try and understand where she is coming from. What made her behave the way she did? She is still learning to manage her emotions, so a minor disagreement can turn into a full –on fit. While most tantrums start with anger and frustration, it’s rooted with sadness. It’s sometimes hard for your toddler to understand that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. She may easily get frustrated that she needs help tying her shoes and can’t do it alone.
- Give your child some space. He needs it.
Sometimes your toddler needs to let off some steam! Let him! It’s the best way to release some of their stress hormones. It also helps him get some of his feelings out in a non destructible way and learn to have more control of his emotions.
- Give your child plenty of positive attention.
Get in the habit of catching your child being good. Reward your little one with praise and attention for positive behavior.
- Give them a big hug.
Now this may not always work but it’s worth the shot. Sometimes expressing your love in moments of distress can calm them down. Hugs help a kid feel secure and show them that you care about them even when you don’t agree with their behaviour.
- Know your child’s limits.
If you know your toddler is tired, it’s not the best time to go grocery shopping or try to squeeze in one more errand.
- Offer them food/snack or maybe some playtime outside.
Being hungry or tired are two of the main possible triggers of tantrums. We all have our moments of weakness. Imagine if you were so busy at work you forgot to have your lunch , wouldn’t you find yourself feeling slightly uneasy and irritated?
- Get out of there!
If your child is caught having a meltdown in a public place for example; a supermarket or mall, the best thing to do is to get out of there! Removing your child from the situation can help them to snap out of it. If your toddler is having a tantrum because you said you can’t get him a candy bar, pick him up and leave or move to a different area of the shop.
- Laugh it off
Kids these days are super smart! Blame it on the digital age if you must. Once your toddler knows that his temper tantrum in a public place makes you stressed and angry with his behaviour he may use this to his advantage to get what he wants. He will soon learn “Aha, that works!” so your best bet is to suck it up, plaster that million dollar smile on your face and pretend that everything is just peachy!
After a meltdown, kids may be especially k they know they’ve been less than adorable. Now (when your child is calm) is the time for a hug and reassurance that your child is loved, no matter what. You are not a bad parent just because your toddler has a tantrum in a public place . Research has shown that people judge you based on your reaction to the situation. Stay calm and composed, yes you may not be doing anything about it but you’re doing a great job! Handling a toddler tantrum is never fun. But it turns out the solution is NOT to face it in the heat of the moment! Hang in there, it’s just a phase and it will be over before you know it!
By Zahedi Samsudeen