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How To Deal With Toddler Tantrums

How To Deal With Toddler Tantrums

Uh-oh, the dreaded toddler tantrums and terrible twos! Whilst they may have you questioning your parenting skills, toddler tantrums are actually very normal. Find out why they happen and how you can handle them (without losing your sanity).

Crying child

What Are Toddler Tantrums And When Do They Start?

Toddler temper tantrums are short bursts of anger that include crying, screaming, shouting, hitting and biting. They normally start from around the age of 18 months and can strike anywhere between the ages of one to three.

What Causes Temper Tantrums?

Nearly every tantrum comes from tots not getting what they want. Toddlers want to express themselves but can find it difficult as their language skills haven’t fully developed yet. This frustration results in a tantrum. 

Tantrums may also happen when a child is:

  • Tired
  • Hungry
  • Jealous (maybe of another child)
  • Feeling ignored
  • Worried or anxious

How Often Do Toddlers Have Tantrums?

It’s estimated that toddlers have an average of one tantrum per day. They can last anywhere from a few minutes up to 15 minutes. Most kids are able to move forward with their day afterwards. 

Should I Worry About Toddler Tantrums?

upset baby

Tantrums are a common and normal part of toddlerhood so you do not need to worry. Tantrums also affect both boys and girls equally. As they grow older, some children have regular tantrums whereas others may not. 

Speak to a health professional if you notice that your toddler is having extremely aggressive and intense tantrums every day and/or multiple times a day.

When Do Toddler Tantrums Stop?

When children are able to talk more, they are less likely to have a tantrum or outburst. Tantrums should ease off by the time they turn four. 

Top Tips On How To Deal With Toddler Tantrums 

Every parent's worst nightmare is their little one having a temper tantrum in a very public place. You may feel embarrassed, angry, deflated, and hopeless as your tot whines, cries, screams, yells, kicks, hits, or even holds their breath in front of a large audience!

Whilst it may not feel like it, this is the time when your child needs you the most. You can support them by doing the following.

1. Understand & Accept Their Anger

Try to understand and accept your child’s anger. Are they tired? Hungry? Frustrated? If you’re able to understand where the anger is coming from, it may be easier to soothe them.

2. Distract Them

If you can sense a tantrum on the horizon, find something to distract them with. As their attention spans are short, distract them with a new activity such as looking out a window and saying “oh look, there’s a dog!” whilst sounding as surprised and interested as you can.

3. Wait For It To Stop

This may feel difficult to do but staying calm and ignoring the looks from those around you can help your screaming toddler calm down.

4. Don’t Give In

Giving in isn’t a healthy long-term solution as your toddler will assume that if you give in to their tantrum it’s the way to get what they want. Try to avoid bribing them with sweets or treats too. Instead, if you’re at home go into another room for a while to let the tantrum naturally diffuse.

5. Hold Them

This may be useful for some parents even though it can be extremely difficult to hold a wiggly, struggling child. It’s a great technique to use if your child is upset (rather than angry) and when you’re feeling calm enough to speak to them gently. 

6. Try Not To Panic

Understandably, it’s so easy to get angry but the most vital thing is to remain calm and composed. This is a completely normal thing to happen and you’ll get through it. If you’re stressed, your child will pick up on it.

Ways To Stop Tantrums

mother comforting toddler

Praise Good Behaviour

Whenever your little one does something good, reward them with praise and attention. If they’ve been particularly good, rewarding them with a special present like a toy or game is a great idea (if we do say so ourselves).

Help Toddlers To Understand Their Emotions

Helping young children to understand their feelings can be done by reading stories as it gives you the chance to talk about, describe and name the different emotions. 

Give Them Choices

Handing over some control such as offering choices over what clothes to wear or what snack they’d like will make them feel like they have a voice.

Understand Their Needs

Be receptive to your child’s needs e.g. if they’re really tired, don’t take them on a long outing and if they’re hungry, pack lots of snacks. Tiredness and hunger are two of the biggest tantrum triggers that you can stop in their tracks before they’ve had a chance to begin.

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