When a toddler can’t get their way they resort to emotional outburst which we all know as a tantrum. These tantrums can seemingly explode from nowhere and typically always take place in public, which can then add pressure on you to calm the situation. Often toddlers are just getting frustrated because they don’t have the linguistic ability to put what they want in words. It’s not always easy for a parent to work out what the tantrum was about, whilst other time it can be obvious. Whatever you do, you mustn’t give into these tantrums as this can help to turn them into a form of manipulative behaviour – unless they really are the victim of injustice, never give them what they want. But what should you do instead?
Keep your cool
If you get stressed and start shouting back, nine times out of ten it was just fuel the fire – the screeching may get worse and turn into tears or they may try and deliberately misbehave more to get back at you. By staying calm, you can stop the tantrum from escalating and you won’t create more of a public spectacle for everyone else.
Often the best way of dealing with a tantrum is to ignore it. Continue with your business and let the tantrum play out – they’ll eventually grow bored and realise that all this tiring shouting and screaming isn’t getting them anywhere. If a child tries to misbehave to get your attention or get a reaction, intervene where necessary and tell them off firmly before continuing to ignore them.
Remove tantrum triggers that are still present
Toddlers may throw tantrums because something has been taken away from them – this could be a toy that they were using to hit someone with or were refusing to share. Toddler may also throw tantrums if they’ve been taken away from a place they liked such as the park. However, in other cases the trigger may still be present. If it’s not something you can easily fix, remove the trigger. This could be anything from a broken toy to a sibling who they’ve been bullying. In fact, when it comes to siblings such as twins, you’re often best to split both of them up to avoid each one negatively encouraging the other as http://mommacuisine.com/blog/what-can-you-do-to-survive-the-twin-terrible-twos explains. If it’s someone else’s child, you may want to get their parent to step in.
Create a distraction
You can sometimes end a tantrum by creating a distraction. This shouldn’t be a rewarding distraction such as giving them a sweet – you don’t want to be rewarding their bad behaviour. However, you could point out something that looks cool to refocus their attention or relocate yourself to give them a change of environment. Sites such as this one http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/distraction.html offer more information on distraction tactics.
Use statements, not questions
Rather than saying ‘would you like to put on your shoes so that we can go home?’ tell your kid calmly but firmly ‘put on your shoes, we’re going home’. Statements show them that you’re still in charge and this is what is going to happen. Asking it as a question is likely to make them reply ‘no! no! no!’ and could make the tantrum worse.
GetConnectDad is growing at an incredible pace because parents are actively sharing what we are doing with their friends and families. We are so thankful. If you would like to receive a bi-weekly summary of articles like this, please fill out our subscription form below. We are very careful to limit the number of emails we send per month because we, like you, are busy parents!