If you’ve ever wondered how to deal with toddler tantrums, we have the answer for you—very carefully. Yes, that’s a joke, but it does have some truth in it. The toddler stage can be trying for a mom, as her baby turns into a little person with preferences, a desire for independence, and the ability to express himself. The best toddler tantrum approach is one that’s not reactionary, spur of the moment, or born of fatigue or frustration.
Here are 5 tips for how to deal with toddler tantrums effectively and lovingly:
1. Stay calm.
Let’s just jump right in, shall we? When your toddler has a temper tantrum, rule one for moms is to stay calm. If we snarl at our child or yell at her to “calm down,” it will likely make things worse. Try to identify the source of the tantrum. Is your child tired? Put her to bed. Is she frustrated that her blocks keep falling down? Give her a hug and help her rebuild. Does she want her own way? Explain to her why your answer is no and then move on. Is she just trying to get your attention? Ignore her.
If your child’s temper tantrum continues, tell her, “I want to help you feel better. So when you calm down, I will talk with you and help you.” And go ahead and start studying these wise words you should say when your child talks back.
2. Dealing with the public toddler tantrum.
Rule one applies here too: stay calm. Next, as we mentioned earlier, try to identify the source of the tantrum and act accordingly. But since you’re in a public place, ignoring a tantrum can be difficult. Still, if you can stand the stares of others, and your child isn’t disturbing someone’s workspace, don’t give in. Instead, move your child from the public place, if you can. Take her to your car or a private area, and talk to her. “It seems you’re upset because—you can’t have a piece of candy, get out of the grocery cart, you are tired, but we are going to stay right here until you calm down.” If she really is out of control and you’re about to lose your cool, go home and let her rest or have her tantrum until she tires.
If your child is at the beginning stages of a toddler tantrum, try redirecting his behavior. If he picks up something he shouldn’t, offer an explanation and a distraction, “Noah, that’s Mommy’s, and it’s not for little hands. Here, you can play with _________ instead.”
A distraction we love if your child’s toddler tantrum is a cry for more mom time? Reading to your child. Here are some great toddler books to check out.
4. Toddler tantrum prevention.
Life with a toddler always holds the possibility of a tantrum, so make tantrum prevention part of your toddler tantrum strategy. If you know your child is cranky in the afternoon, run errands earlier in the day. If passing by the toy aisle at Target is a sure-fire trigger for a meltdown, choose the route by paper products instead.
5. Praise progress.
You can begin weaning your child from toddler tantrums with praise. If you want to nix temper tantrums at the grocery store, sing your child’s praises when he makes it through your next shopping trip without one and reward him with a treat. If he accepts your no without a meltdown, celebrate his success. Reward the good behavior more than the unacceptable behavior.
What’s your toddler discipline advice?