No one enjoys dealing with tantrums. Because little children can be so unpredictable, it can be challenging to know what exactly triggers your toddler. Don’t worry momma; it has less to do with your parenting skills and more of a natural phase most toddlers go through. Even the most well-behaved child can throw an occasional tantrum or two!
But let’s not sugarcoat tantrums. Temper tantrums, while natural, are forms of misbehavior that should not be tolerated. The good news is that little children are very teachable and there are simple but effective ways to deal with toddler tantrums to nip the behavior in the bud.
1. Understand what causes your toddler to throw tantrums.
First, in order to effectively deal with tantrums, you should know what causes or triggers this behavior in your child, especially if they are normally mild-mannered. The most common reason for tantrums is your toddler not being able to communicate what they want. They get frustrated when you can’t understand what they are trying to say, so your toddler throws a fit instead.
To prevent this, it’s best to start teaching your baby how to communicate their needs and wants early. This may involve the use of simplified words or sign language.
2. Follow a consistent schedule or routine.
Another thing that you need to organize at home is a consistent routine and schedule. This involves but is not limited to morning routines, play time, bath time, and nighttime routines. You also need to have a consistent time for your toddler’s naptime. Avoid going out or doing activities during this time because it can cause your child to be overtired — another leading cause of temper tantrums.
3. Prepare your child for a change in routine.
If, for any unavoidable reason, you have to go out and do something during your child’s usual lunch time or naptime, prepare your toddler for this sudden change ahead of time. For example, grandpa and grandma are coming for a visit and you need to fetch them at the airport at 2pm. Give your toddler plenty of advance notice and talk to them about it days before. This prepares them and may even make them feel excited! They thrive on routine and a sudden change can be overwhelming for a little child, so take care to make the transition as gentle as possible.
4. Allow your child to have some control over their choices.
Sometimes, all your toddler wants is some control over their choices. Not having any control at all is not a pleasant feeling for anyone, and you have to understand that toddlers feel the same way. Allow your child to have some control by offering them choices that are child- safe and within boundaries.
For example, if you are at the grocery store, rather than simply getting a snack for your toddler, allow them to choose between two healthy options. During bedtime, allow them to choose a book that they would like you to read.
5. Offer a distraction.
When you feel like your child is about to throw a tantrum, don’t fret. Little ones have a short attention span, so take advantage of this by offering a distraction. If they want a particular toy which they can’t have, offer an alternative like another toy, a book, or an activity. You can even simply change the environment by taking them to another store or taking them outdoors.
6. Avoid agitating or reasoning with the child.
If your child is now throwing a tantrum, avoid reasoning with them. This goes for you, your partner, or any other well-meaning person. Telling your child why they can’t have this particular toy, for example, does not help at all and just agitates them, triggering the temper tantrum even further. Go back to number 5 and simply offer another distraction or a new environment.
7. Don’t give in to their demands.
Another thing to remember when your toddler is already throwing a temper tantrum is to never give in to their demands. While this may seem like the easiest way out of an embarrassing fit, caving in to your toddler’s demands will not curb the bad habit. Instead, this only shows your toddler that temper tantrums work, and hence, there will be more in the near future.
8. Give your child plenty of attention.
Finally, to nip the misbehavior in the bud, remember to always give your child plenty of time, attention, and love. Oftentimes, a toddler who misbehaves is a toddler who seeks attention from their parents. Throwing a temper tantrum makes them the focus of your attention, which is why they will keep on doing it.
Instead, get in the habit of always being in the moment. Spend a lot of time with your child, and if you are working, make sure you get quality time together in the evenings and during the weekends. Be generous with praises if your toddler behaves well, and shower them with a lot of cuddles, hugs, and kisses.
Remember: A toddler who feels safe and secure in your love knows you are listening and perceptive to their needs and wants. They may be young, but they understand that they don’t need to throw a temper tantrum just to get your attention.