From experience, we can tell you that all kids have temper tantrums and there’s very little you can do to actually prevent them. Toddlers and preschoolers alike are prone to expressing their stress and frustration in loud, violent ways. Without the words to communicate or the ability to process what’s upsetting them, kids resort to crying, whining, hitting and being all around jerks. According to Ask Dr. Sears, “Most toddlers throw temper tantrums. It’s a typical stage of child development.”
So, perhaps knowing you’re not alone and your child isn’t actually a monster is enough to make you feel better and survive both the terrible two’s and the threenage years. But we’ve gone a step further and put together seven practical ways to manage toddler tantrums. By using these tools, perhaps you can diffuse the situation or even avoid temper tantrums entirely.
When it comes to dealing with temper tantrums, try to diffuse the situation by redirecting the child to something that’s not necessarily a reward for their on-the-cusp of negative behavior, but a toy, activity or treat that’s valuable enough to distract them from whatever is making them mad.
Distance Your Emotions
If you are dealing with toddler tantrums, don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the heat of the moment along with your kid. If you get emotionally involved, it will only add fuel to the fire. This is specially difficult for us Latinas… but we gotta’ try our best!
Highlight the Behavior
Show how your child how they look while having a tantrum. You can show them their own ridiculousness by holding up a mirror or lightly mimicking them yourself. It will throw them off a bit and probably reset their behavior.
Discuss the Behavior
After the tantrum is over and everyone is calm again, discuss with your child why their behavior was not acceptable and explain how it will be received by other children and adults—it won’t accomplish anything.
Remove the Child
Oftentimes, children who have temper tantrums are, in part, performing for an audience. If you are able, remove them from the situation to take away their “audience” and therefor, their gratification.
Don’t engage with your child during or immediately following their tantrum. They’re looking to gain your attention and get a reaction, so hold out on them. After the situation has calmed down, you can discuss the behavior.
Tell your child you love him. All the time.