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Screaming, Kicking, and Crying

Dealing with toddler tantrums.

If you have children, you’re going to face a few toddler tantrums. (If you don’t, please write a book to teach the rest of the world how to prevent little people from ever throwing fits.)

Instead of letting these tantrums drive you over the edge, there are a few things you can do to help your child move beyond the screaming, kicking, and crying.

Want to know the secrets of tantrum quieting?

Remember the Cause

Believe it or not, kids don’t break down and throw tantrums just for something to do. And they rarely throw tantrums to manipulate you into doing something for them. Rather, most tantrums are the fruit of frustration. While your child’s mental and physical abilities develop rapidly during the first three years of life, his or her verbal abilities may not catch up until a little later. But this doesn’t stop your toddler from wanting to communicate. The end result? Incredible frustration when a toy is just out of reach and mom or dad doesn’t understand.

Help lessen your child’s tantrum-inducing frustrations by keeping a tantrum diary. Figure out what is causing the tantrum and write it down. Over time, you’ll see a pattern emerge. With this knowledge, you can either keep triggers out of sight of your toddler or be prepared to respond by quickly helping your toddler get what he or she desires.

Stay Calm

Tantrums push a lot of buttons for adults. They’re incredibly annoying and can cause you to feel inadequate as a parent – especially if the tantrum is in public. Despite the temptation to let out your frustration by getting angry and yelling or yanking your child by the collar and dragging him out of the restaurant violently, you’ve got to remember something: you’re the parent.

As such, it is your responsibility to keep your cool, even when your toddler is doing everything possible to cause you to scream. This means you can’t lower yourself to your child’s level and throw a tantrum yourself. If you get upset in the process of trying to get your toddler out of Tantrumville, this will only excite your toddler more, making the tantrum last longer. Help the situation by maintaining a calm voice and giving a gentle back rub.

Choose Your Battles

Sometimes, your child will make an insane demand. Moments after begging for ketchup on a hot dog, he or she hates ketchup and screams for you to wipe it off. Don’t write off all your child’s demands, though. If you want to keep your little one from throwing tantrums constantly, there has to be a little give and take, which requires you to choose your battles.

Having family pictures made with everyone wearing the same outfit? Then having your toddler wear a button-up shirt may be important enough to fight over. Just another day at the house? Then it’s probably not worth fighting over what your child wears. And if your child is tired, anything can turn into a battle.

To avoid being at war with a tired toddler, you may need to change your day’s schedule and spend a restful day at home instead. Taking this small step may be inconvenient, but if it keeps your toddler from throwing a tantrum or two (or three or four), it will be well worth it to postpone your trip to the grocery store.

Ignoring Is Bliss

Parent long enough and you’ve probably considered ignoring your child’s tantrums. But is this a good way to let your child move beyond the fussing and screaming? Maybe.

As long as your child’s tantrum doesn’t put him or herself in harm’s way or affect other people, it is sometimes a good idea to let your child get the tantrum out without interference. Just keep your screaming child where you can see him or her to make sure your little one stays safe.

By going about your daily routine while your toddler has a tantrum, you slowly teach him or her that throwing a tantrum doesn’t always lead to instant gratification. This knowledge will, in turn, reduce the number of tantrums and your child’s ability to manipulate you through screaming and whining.

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