How to control toddler temper tantrums
I am not an expert on toddler tantrums. In fact, I am still learning how to manage this phase in my children as they get older.
This is my dilemma, my oldest (6) tantrums a bit here and there, and I am able to control it, however, my youngest (4) still gives me tantrums that I don't quite like one bit. In fact, it sometimes leaves me hopelessly wondering where did I go wrong as a parent?
However, the truth is, I can see the differences of how to manage them when I myself step back and really look at what helps to make the situation better rather than screaming out in frustration myself.
So here are the ways that I have observed based on my experience that has helped me to overcome this challenging period of toddler temper tantrums.
Have you also found any ideas that you could share? Please feel free to add to my list, or ask your questions or concerns in our FORUM section. I would be happy to help you!
“Your screaming at your toddler and their screaming at you equals world war one!”
TRY NOT TO YELL
I know without a doubt that the yelling is a complete "no-no". I have tried this so many times and to no avail, it only makes the situation worst. Yelling only reminds a child that the best way to solve a problem is to scream at it.
That's not the correct way I want to teach my child how to solve his problems. I want to show him that being soft in tone or speech is a lot more effective when trying to get your point across. So the best thing to do is to speak clearly and softly to the other person.
Now you might be wondering how do I do that?
I am not an expert but I do know that if you lower your voice when speaking to your child it helps tremendously to ease the tantrums that they are having. The tantrum just seems to subside a lot quicker.
TRY TO REMAIN AS CALM AS POSSIBLE
So, instead of yelling at your child in an attempt to stop his or her tantrums, let's approach it in a different way.
This is my story...
Whenever I get upset with my kids and yell at them, I get so frustrated that I call my husband to come and take them away. When he arrives at the scene I expect the same world war 2 scenarios.
Yeah, let's both take them out together! Shocking enough, and still to this day, his approach is way different from mine.
And guess what? He gets a much better result than I do.
Do you know what he does? Drumroll, please...
Yes, I admit, this approach really helps a lot more than the yelling, screaming, and bossing around. He calms my son down, asks him what happened, then with a firm but low tone in voice helps him to find a middle ground that they can both work with. What took me 15 minutes of screaming, took him only 2 minutes of showing empathy.
So many times we may think that the more loud or audacious we are the better it is for our children. It is actually our worst enemy. Empathy will win the tantrum struggles most of the time. I have seen it with my own experiences.
The next best thing to do to help to calm tantrums is...
UNDERSTAND WHERE THEIR EMOTIONS ARE COMING FROM
Take a moment to understand the scenario a bit more. What happened that caused the tantrum? Was it because of another sibling? Was it because of something that they wanted?
Understanding what caused the trigger is the best way to help them solve the problem.
When you understand their emotions, then you yourself as a parent will be able to manage them a lot easier.
Now that you understand the situation, the next best thing to do is...
LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR CHILD HAS TO SAY
Our natural tendencies as humans are to be heard and understood. Is that correct? Then expect the same from our children as well. Emotions are real, and no matter what we think, children often times have the same emotions as we do.
It is, therefore, necessary to help them as well to work through those emotions in a more positive way.
Respond to your child in this way:
I understand how you are feeling.
Help me to understand more what happened?
I know that you would like to do XYZ.
How can we work together to solve XYZ?
FIND SOLUTIONS THAT WILL WORK FOR BOTH OF YOU
This is the part that many parents may have mixed emotions about, and it is totally fine. Some parents may think that this parenting style is "giving into the child's request or need, or showing weakness as a parent".
Not exactly! You do not have to give in to everything your child needs, that's not going to solve his problem at all.
The difference is that because of the power struggle at this age, kids tend to rebel against hearing the word "NO". The best approach is to give them a better understanding of what they want based on the situation and to help them understand more clearly why you are saying no.
For example, your child may be throwing a tantrum about having a snack right before dinner. Instead of yelling an automatic "NO" response, knowing that it will make the tantrum worse, try calming your child down first. Be rational, and offer a better explanation and a more beneficial suggestion.
Maybe they can have a snack or a small dessert after they finish their meal instead. You can also place the snack on the table and let them understand that it is right there and they can only have it once they finish their meal.
It's a win-win situation!
THE TIME OF DAY
I tend to overlook this in most of my toddler tantrum moments. The worst times for tantrums are actually closer to bedtime. Can you tell? When your kids are the most exhausted, it is possible the worst time to try to yell, scream or say the word NO. It's just not gonna happen at all.
Therefore the best thing to do is to understand what time of day it is and make the adjustments that you need quickly to try to change the scenario.
For example, if bedtime is tantrum time, then it's time to change focus and get them ready to go to bed. I may have to switch into bedtime routine mode and reduce any highly engaging activities to more low-key settling down for bed type of activities.
That may include a hot bubble bath, read a book, prayers, singing, etc, and then settling down in bed.
If you need help with bedtime and toddlers, read my blog post on:
Another thing as parents that I understand can really put "fuel to fire in tantrum" situations with our kids are:
OUR EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
Yes I know, you may have thought this was only going to be about your kids and their emotions, right? Sometimes it can be ours as well.
We don't really like to admit this truth, but we can be going through something emotionally ourselves and in some instances, it can affect how we respond to our children. Our emotions can in effect cause tantrums in our own kids.
It's best whenever approaching our kids with behavioral issues, to also understand our emotions at the time that they throw a tantrum. We tend to be less combative when we are in a better state of mind rather than the opposite.
As parents, We too can have rough days, emotional stress, fatigue, etc. Sometimes we may not understand how it can flow over to our own families as well.
The best thing to do in this situation before helping our children is to make sure to help ourselves to get to a better state of well-being first. Once we are able to think more clearly and rationally, then it makes it so much easier to help our children to handle their emotions as well.
If you need help with other related blog posts about self-care read my blood posts on:
SEEK ANOTHER PERSONS HELP
Sometimes depending on the situation, we may need to take a step back and ask for help. Remember there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help.
If you are not able to at the moment to get to a more stable well-being, then it is ok to seek another person's help.
That is the case for me. When I can't seem to handle the situation because I am overwhelmed or exhausted, then I try to get dad to help me. Sometimes too if dad is not available, I may be able to get grandma or their aunt on the phone to talk with them and to solve the problem until I am a bit calmer.
Asking for help is not a show of weakness, but just knowing that there is also strength in others that can help us briefly, while we get back on track.
Did you find the strategies listed in this article helpful? What were some of your favorite tips? How have they worked for you? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think.
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