It happens to the best of us. It can be for the smallest of reasons to largest of triggers, but no parent is immune to the roth of a toddler tantrum!
Particularly rife between the ages of one and three year’s old, toddler meltdowns are usually the result of pent up frustration. The NHS says: “One reason for this is toddlers want to express themselves, but find it difficult. They feel frustrated, and the frustration comes out as a tantrum.”
So, what can we do to ease the impending rage when a toddler tantrum starts to brew? Here’s some helpful tips….
Pay close attention
There may be particular scenarios that trigger your child’s tantrum button. It could be when baby toys aren’t being shared or if you’re opening food they wanted to open themselves (like bananas). Pay close attention to these as you may be able to prevent an outburst, by anticipating the issues in advance.
Keep calm and carry on
At work we’d call it ‘business as usual’, but it’s most important to keep our cool in these moments of outburst. By keeping your composure, you will be able to help them to calm down, some children respond well to comfort, others might need a few minutes of ‘time out’. If your child is lashing out and hurting others, its ok to take them to a safer quieter place until they have composed themselves. When kids get violent, it’s important not to reciprocate their behaviour, as it only makes them think it’s acceptable.
Set a standard
Children repeat learned behaviour, so by giving in to unreasonable behaviour they may use this tactic in future situations to get their own way. To combat this, try and set a good standard from the beginning, reminding them that you only reward good behaviour. For instance, if your child is a fussy eater, but tries something new, this is a great opportunity to acknowledge how proud you are of them.
Particularly helpful in public situations, look at ways to distract your toddler to overcome their anger. Whatever is in sight- a toy car, a cat, a silly face or reach for the nearest kids toy – whatever you can do to divert their attention and resume business as usual!
After the storm
Tantrums come and go, when they go it’s important to sit down with your child and talk through what just happened. Acknowledging their feelings helps to overcome frustration, and explain that when they communicate calmly, you can understand their issues a lot clearer. Be sure to tell your child you love them, rewarding good behaviour is just as important too.
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