When tantrum season starts, it really can feel like you’re stuck in a whirlwind, slowly losing control. As a parent, it is important to remember that you can handle these situations, and by offering your child some emotional support, you can help them overcome these seemingly uncontrollable feelings. Effectively dealing with toddler tantrums is a good skill to have as a parent.
Sometimes tantrums happen no matter what you try to do to avoid them. Here are some things you can do to handle the tantrums when they happen.
Stay calm – As a parent and role model, the best thing you can do is to remain calm. If you have to take a moment to calm, do it. When you aren’t able to calm yourself, at least pretend to. If you become angry or irate, it will only escalate the situation. Keep your voice calm and speak slowly and deliberately.
Acknowledge their emotions – Your toddler is dealing with new emotions daily, and while the situation might seem minor to you, their emotions and reactions are very real to them. Acknowledge and understand their feelings, and let them know that you do. Acknowledging that their feelings are valid can prevent their tantrums or behaviour from becoming more out of control, and lets your child know that their feelings are validated.
Wait it out – Sometimes, nothing you do can stop a tantrum. If this happens, the next best thing to do is to wait the tantrum out. Sit close by so your child knows you are there and try to protect them from hurting themselves. If you can see they won’t respond, do not attempt to distract or reason.
Take charge – Do not give in to tantrums if they happen because your toddler wants something they cannot have. This will only teach them that tantrums help them get what they want.
Be consistent – It can be so difficult to remain consistent with how you manage tantrums, especially when you are out in public and don’t want to cause a scene, however, remaining consistent is so important. You cannot sometimes give in to tantrums, and other times not. Your toddler is not ready to deal with mixed signals, so don’t send any.
Get down to their level – Don’t expect your toddler to respond to you during a tantrum if you are talking to them as an adult. Get down to their level, hold onto their hands, and look them in the eyes. Speak in short, understandable sentences to help them understand you better.
Tantrums are often unavoidable, and you will not always be there to guide them through difficult times. Use tantrums as a teaching opportunity. Use them to help your children understand their emotions, and learn how to deal with them in an acceptable manner.
As unavoidable as tantrums might be, find some ways to keep your toddler busy, and out of stressful situations!
Tantrums can really throw you for a loop, but as a parent, you need to be the rock and help guide your child through these tough situations, helping them learn and understand what is happening, all while feeling protected and loved by you. Be consistent with your reactions, and do not let your child think that tantrums are a form of negotiation, and hone your skills on dealing with toddler tantrums!