No-one told me that the terrible 2s started at 18 months and lasted 4 years!
The worst is that you can see the frustration building and then
Pre-empting and communication…
…discovering their triggers (like my impulse buying one) and nipping it in the bud can save you headaches, frustration and grief.
Watching your kids grow and develop is one of the greatest joys of being a parent.
However, as your baby turns into a toddler, there is something that we all wish to: tantrums.
It’s one of the hardest things about having young toddlers, but the most important thing is how we deal with it when it happens.
Here are my six top tips for pacifying the situation:
Don’t shout, speak calmly
If you lose it too, things will escalate and you will lose control of the situation. Remember, you’re the adult dealing with a young child and you need to keep calm.
The more worked up your child becomes, the calmer you need to appear.
(Easier said than done but the old advice – deep breaths & count to ten – has saved me from losing my rag)
As Chris Thompson over at talkingtotoddlers.com says:
“People ACT from their emotions, and they later JUSTIFY their actions with logic. But small kids don’t have the ability to use logic, so they act purely from emotion.”
When a tantrum comes on, if possible, try ignoring it.
Depending on the situation, simply walk away or leave the room.
Especially if you are getting angry and shouting back – this will only add fuel to the flames, but if you refuse to participate, the tantrum will soon fizzle by itself out.
If you try this tactic, just make sure you are not putting your child in any danger by leaving them.
(Don’t just pop into Starbucks for a Macchiato and leave your kid bawling on the sidewalk.)
For many kids, especially really young ones, a large proportion of tantrums are caused by just two things:
lack of food and lack of sleep.
At one or two years old, they struggle to express these needs but it’s a sure thing that once they get hungry or tired, they’re sure to get cranky.
Keeping snacks handy and making sure they have enough naps can solve a lot of problems before they happen.
Although the actual trigger can be something as simple as unable to stack blocks – 9 out of 10 times the underlining cause is tiredness or hunger (and things don’t change when you’re an adult!).
Don’t give in
However tempting it might be, especially in public, don’t give in to your child’s demands (we do not negotiate with tantrumists).
If your child gets mad because you won’t let them have the candy they’ve just seen in a store, don’t ever resolve the tantrum by buying the candy.
This is a golden rule: if you give in like this, you will be reinforcing the behavior and the child will learn that tantrums work!
Plan ahead and reward good behavior
If you are going to a restaurant, explain to your child what kind of behavior you expect and reward them when they exhibit those behaviors.
If your child starts losing it halfway through the meal, reminding them of the conversation is very often a very quick and easy way of bringing your little one back into line.
There are a few ‘star’ reward systems that you can use, that lets your kids track their rewards (like your loyalty card).
The key takeaway here is that tantrums are bound to happen, and the most important thing is to be ready with strategies to deal with them when they do.
Try to prevent tantrums before they occur by making sure your child isn’ hungry or over-tired.
When, despite everything you do, your kid goes into meltdown, deal with things calmly and always use the right way to talk to your child.
Communication is key
Agreed – no one likes tantrums and communication is key to getting through it.
There is no shame in looking for help and really it makes you a better parent for buying and researching all that you can.
By creating a rapport, building an emotional bridge and using positive language, you can solve a lot of your child’s behavioral problems – (including tantrums) – you just need to be shown the right way.