From birth, babies learn what to do to get their needs met. They continue this natural tendency as they grow into adorable toddlers. Some children are relaxed and laid back and only cry when hungry or wet. Others are more temperamental and will scream and cry when they want to be held or if they are too hot. How do you deal with tantrums? The right approach can make all the difference in the world.
Especially around two and three years of age, children begin learning how to do things themselves. They want to assert their newfound independence. This is a period many call the “terrible twos.” Many toddlers resort to throwing a tantrum—which can include lying on the ground, refusing to move, kicking and screaming, or refusing to do what is being asked of them—during this stage of their development. If in public, and sometimes at home, most parents will give in just to get their child to stop throwing the tantrum. However, giving in shows the child that they can always get their way by acting out.
How Do I Deal With a Toddler that Throws Tantrums?
Here are some great tips to keep your sanity and deal with a tantrum from your strong-willed toddler:
- If possible, ignore it.
- Anticipate situations that cause tantrums or defiance and be prepared with a favorite toy, book, or snack.
- Validate your child’s feelings and let them know that you understand where they are coming from.
- Set limits using short and clear, but not threatening, language. For example, “We have to brush our teeth if we want to eat yummy snacks.”
- Offer options if the situation allows. For example, “Do you want to take a bath before or after we read your favorite book?”
- Use humor and engage your child’s imagination.
- If none of the above work and your precious angel is still not listening, calmly and firmly set the limit and explain why you are doing it. For example, “I know you don’t want to go to bed, but it’s your bedtime.Since you will not walk, mommy/daddy has to carry you. You are a big boy/girl and in order to grow you have to get your sleep.”
The key is to deal with tantrums consistently. If a parent gives in occasionally, but is strict on other occasions, expectations won’t be clear. Both parents and all caregivers should be on the same page about how to address tantrums.