Tantrums are a normal part of being a toddler. Most children between the ages of 1 and 3 have a number of these each week which can be very exhausting and frustrating for you as a parent. Identifying possible triggers for tantrums and avoiding these can potentially help you to prevent them from occurring.
Here Are Some Common Triggers:
- When they are tired or hungry
- When they are unable to verbalise their wants and needs due to limited language skills
- When they are frustrated as they don’t yet have the skills to do things others are doing
- When trying to get your attention or simply testing their sense of independence
- Knowing they will get what they want if they have a tantrum
- Lack of control over their emotions, which can change quickly, for example from excitement to anger.
Responses To A Tantrum
If you’ve tried to remove all of the triggers and your toddler still has a tantrum, here are some strategies to help you through the situation:
- Recognise how your child is feeling. If you can see a tantrum is coming, try to distract them with other activities
- Stay calm. During a tantrum, do your best not to get angry as it can make the situation worse. Respond to your toddler using a voice which is in control and calm
- Remove your toddler from the situation. Try moving them to another place, such as another room when at home or a quieter place when out. The more people that are around your toddler the worse their behaviour can become. Allow them time to calm down; this may take at least 5 minutes
- Provide comfort. When your child has calmed down, let them know that they are safe, give cuddles and use soothing words
- Don’t forget to praise good behaviour. When your toddler manages their frustrations well, let them know
Now you know some triggers for tantrums and how to respond to them, here are some things to avoid doing when your toddler is having a tantrum as they can make the situation even more difficult to deal with.
What Not To Do
- Change the consequences. Your toddler needs to see consistency, it can be confusing if they sometimes get what they want and other times do not
- Get upset and yell. This can end up making you feel worse if you lose control
- Reacting physically, such as hitting your child are unacceptable and will not solve or help the problem. It will only give them the idea that violence is a method of problem solving.
The Good News!
Remember this behaviour reflects your child’s development. As your toddler develops language and physical skills the number of tantrums and their duration should reduce.