Are you a parent raising a toddler? Then you’ve probably experienced a tantrum or two…or three, or four. Toddler tantrums can be embarrassing in public, frustrating in the home, and difficult to handle at times. But there are a few things you can do to ease the stress and parent with a smile! Here are 5 Tips to Help you Handle Toddler Tantrums Like a Champ!
It happens at the dinner table when they don’t like you’re serving.
It happens when you leave the park.
It happens when they can’t have a toy from the store.
It’s that everlasting battle to leave the house on time – find the shoe, go potty, find the matching shoe, grab the coat, can’t find the right shoes, tears, tantrums…you’re already late and you know you’ll go through it again the next morning.
It happens. Day in and day out – it happens. Toddler tantrums! And there’s nothing we can do about them…well, that’s not entirely true. Parenting is hard. But here are a few tips that can help the next time your child is due for a tantrum.
1. Prepare Your Child
Surprises aren’t always fun. No one likes to be caught off guard. Prepare your child ahead of time anytime you’re about to leave the house, park, or anything that will cause your child to have to change location or activities.
Always state your expectations and remind them of the rules beforehand.
A five-minute warning.
“We’ll be leaving in 5 minutes.”
“In 5 minutes, it’s time to go to bed.”
“5 more minutes, and then it’s time to clean up.”
“We’re going into the store. No whining. I know you can do it!”
“Remember, we do not run inside church.”
“Use nice words and share your toys while playing with your friends.”
2. Prepare Yourself
It doesn’t matter how many times you prep your children, there will still be tantrums and tears. But, it will be easier if you prepare yourself ahead of time. If you know it’s always a rush to get out the door in the morning, pack a bag of extra clothes and shoes to keep in the car.
Give your child a 5-minute warning.
If they’re being slow, pick them up and put them in the car. You already have extra clothes on hand just in case!
If you know your child always struggles at the store, remind them of your expectations, but have a friend on standby who can come get your child and take them home when the tantrum hits. Make sure they have NO FUN with your friend. (After you’ve done this once, you might only need a time or two more, but it will stop grocery store tantrums.)
If you don’t have a friend, smile and just ignore it the best you can. Go through the drive-through on the way home and order an ice cream. When they ask for one, simply say, “I get one because I didn’t throw a fit at the store.”
Try to think of possible solutions before a tantrum occurs. This way, you’re prepared to handle it like a champ!
3. Planned Ignorance
Most of the time, a tantrum is due to disappointment when a child does not get his or her own way. A child continues to throw tantrums because they expect to change your mind, get the outcome they want, or they’re seeking attention. If you give into the child when while they’re throwing a fit, they will learn that a tantrum is what they need to do to get what they want.
If they are not hurting themselves or others, let them throw a tantrum. Don’t acknowledge it, or make eye contact. It might be hard to do this in public, but the more you ignore the fit, the faster they will realize that they don’t get what they want. This will help decrease the frequency of tantrums overall.
4. Take Simple Actions or Use Simple Words When Needed
You can’t ignore all the tantrums all the time – especially if a child is hurting themselves or others. In these cases, the child needs to be removed from the situation. Calmly pick up the child and carry them to a safe place. This could be their room, a crib, or if you’re in public, they might need to go to the bathroom until their fit has ceased.
Simple actions include buckling them up in the car seat yourself, using the strap in the cart at the grocery store or on the high chair, or removing a toy that they threw across the room.
There is no need to lecture a 2 or 3-year-old. Use simple phrases such as,
“That’s mine now. Maybe you can have it later.”
“I’m sorry you’re acting this way.”
“You can come out when you’re finished crying.”
“We’ll try again when you’re ready to be nice.”
“Dinner is over. You can try again later.”
5. Have Fun When Your Child is Behaving
The most important thing you can do to decrease the number of tantrums in your house is to have fun while your child is behaving. Once the tantrum starts, all fun stops. Once the tantrum stops, the fun starts again. Let your child know that you still love them and move on with the rest of your day.
Remember, everybody has bad days. Tantrums are a natural part of a child’s development and they are actually a good thing. Ever wonder why your child’s behavior is always better for someone else? A tantrum says, “I’m comfortable enough to share my emotions with you.”
So, you’re not a failure as a parent just because your child throws tantrums. You’re normal! But now you have some tips to help you the next time your child decides to throw down!
Or, for tips on Spiritual Development check out To Train Up a Child