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How to Handle Your Toddlers’ Tantrums

by on 11/07/2013 14606

When it comes to toddlers, there is no easy way to handle them. Chocolate-stained t-shirts, crayon-stained teeth and hair full of cookie crumbs are just among the things parents of a toddler will go through.

While some toddlers are more placid than some, most toddlers live up to their infamous “Terrible Two and Terrifying Three” stage.

Handling a toddler’s tantrum can be a challenge especially for first-time parents, but knowing the basic things to do when faced with a tantrum can at least lessen the stress and pressure of pacifying your toddler.

Here are some helpful tips to help you get through the tough challenges of handling the tantrums of a toddler.

1.  Let Them Let It Out – Toddlers are energy bunnies. They have energy levels that seem to match 3 grown men’s. Even though the noise and racket they make can drive you crazy, it’s okay to let them vent their feelings because a toddler will retaliate more when an adult suppresses their emotions. Once they have got it out of their system and they have calmed down, toddlers are much easier to handle for they will reciprocate the space you gave them in allowing them to vent. Asking them to stop crying when they are frustrated is a mistake because it will only send them the signal that their feelings aren’t validated and that you are not interested in listening to what they are trying to say.

2.  See Eye to Eye – Being small is not easy. Trying to make your way through infancy to toddler stage is a tough phase. And this is made worse by the feeling that everything else towers above you. Bringing yourself to a toddler’s eye level is a great way in connecting and approaching them when they are restless and frustrated. When your toddler is throwing a tantrum and seems to refuse every single thing you tell them, try squatting or kneeling in front of them and look directly into their eyes. It’s one of the surest ways to get their attention. And once you have got their attention, it’s relatively easy to make them listen to what you want to say or what you want them to do.

3.  Let Them Speak – Most toddlers are still learning to speak. Not being able to express what they want can lead to frustration and irritation. These are the common reasons for them throwing a tantrum. As parents, we have the knack in understanding where others don’t know what our children are saying. So letting them speak can encourage them to calm down because it’s hard to speak when you are crying or screaming. Gently coax your child to tell you what they want. Instead of always telling them what you want, give them the opportunity to let them tell you what they want. You can throw suggestions or say similar sounding words when you feel you’re not getting what they are saying. Sooner or later you will land on the right thing that your child is trying to tell you.

4.  Be In Their Shoes – Empathize, empathize, and empathize. Always assure your child that you understand their frustrations; always tell them that you’re there for them and that you will do your best to help them get through anything they are not happy with. But be careful not to condescend because even though your toddler is still very young, this is the stage where they develop their minds. Identifying with them is more important than pressing your authority so that they know you truly are there for them and not just bribing them with sweet talks to get them to do what you want.

5.  Walk Away – This is probably easier to do when you are at home than if you were in public. If you feel that you can’t handle your toddler’s tantrum, it is completely fine to walk away for a few minutes to centre yourself. Giving yourself time to gain perspective on why you toddler is being difficult will allow you to see the bigger picture – that your child is just being a child and that he or she is trying to tell you something. Calm yourself down so that when you return to the situation, you are able to reason with your child without losing your temper or raising your voice. Any parent can vouch that screaming toddlers will almost always trigger your own desire to scream. So approaching a screaming toddler when you are calmed and collected can help you avoid an ugly scene.

It’s important to understand that a toddler’s tantrum is not a sign of a spoiled child. Often, it is a toddler’s mean to vent their frustrations for not being able to convey what they want to say. However, if tantrums are handled incorrectly, then it can in the long run cause the child to use tantrums to get anything he or she wants.

So the sooner you learn to handle tantrums, the sooner you are able to have less of them from your toddler.