Written by Liza John
Once your child becomes a toddler, tantrums are going to be more common than you think. Understanding how to help your toddler through one of their fits is an integral part of parenting because it is easy to give in or lose your cool when the toddler is yelling and screaming. However, parents also need to understand that tantrums are not a result of bad parenting.
Temper tantrums arise when children are not able to get what they want. Toddlers of the age 1 to 4 have many desires, for example, they need to open a container, tie their shoelaces, grab a treat from a higher shelf, the list goes on. At the same time, the toddlers lack the physical ability to act on their desires and their language skills are not developed enough for them to ask for help. The frustration arising from this turn of events leads them to sit down and wail or roll on the ground screaming.
Ways To Deal with Temper Tantrums
Most of the time, minor incidents result in large-scale tantrums because toddlers don’t have the right kind of coping mechanisms. As they pass through these developmental stages, they usually learn how to manage the big emotions that arise within them and the frequency of temper tantrums decreases.
Here are a few ways to help you deal with a toddler’s temper tantrums in the best possible manner:
Calm In the Face of Chaos
When your toddler is throwing a fit, especially in a public place, chances are that they have become overwhelmed by everything around them. The emotions, sounds, people, and everything around them can weigh on their mental resources and their distress can exaggerate the tantrum.
You can provide reassurance and feelings of security to your distraught toddler through touch. Pat their back or hold their hand as they get the frustration out of the system. If you don’t give in to their desire and prevent them from getting too aggressive, this method should help your child to find an anchor.
Heed The Early Warning Signs
While tantrums seem to appear out of nowhere, it is usually never the case. Tantrums are a result of the slow build-up of big emotions in your toddler that erupts at a random incident. If your toddler is hungry, sleep-deprived, tired, or overstimulated, they tend to react strongly to even the most inconsequential things.
Since prevention is always better than cure, make sure that your toddler is well-fed and rested before you take them to places that might trigger tantrums in them. Have something on your hand to keep them engaged while you are getting things done.
Avoid Suppressing It
When you are at the grocery store and your toddler is having one of the biggest and loudest tantrums they have ever thrown, you might be tempted to end it by compromising or trying to work out what they want. While you should attempt to figure out what caused the tantrum, never do that while the tantrum is going on.
When you give your attention to the screaming toddler, it reinforces that screaming and crying can get everyone’s attention and that way, the toddler feels like they have gained control. Wait out tantrums, let it run its course and when the storm subsides, try to talk it out with your toddler.
Keep Your Cool
More than your distressed toddler, the fear of judgement by strangers in the public is what causes panic in parents. While it may feel like everyone is judging you for your bad parenting skills, understand that when a child is throwing a fit in a public space, people are looking at how the parent reacts to the situation and not the child’s hysterics itself.
If you stay away from escalating the situation by screaming and yelling at the child, you are halfway done to resolving the situation.
Find An Escape Route
If you are at your wit’s end trying to calm your toddler, there is only one solution that you can use now. Pick your agitated toddler up and flee the scene. Since tantrums only last for a maximum of 15 minutes, wait for everyone to calm down and then get talking to the toddler about how unfair their response was.
Temper tantrums are a vital part of growth and development. It helps children understand how to deal with frustration and find ways to express their emotions in a socially acceptable manner. If you feel like your toddler’s tantrums only surface in highly specific settings or last longer than an appropriate time, be sure to consult a specialist.