All toddler parents have been there. Some on the lower end of the scale than others. You’re playing with your toddler in the park and then it is time to go home. Your toddler does not want to leave and absolutely loses their mind. In public. A kid with a temper tantrum is always harder to deal with in public. Nothing like a good toddler tantrum in a grocery store to make you sweat!
Here are 9 techniques you can try out to deal with your kid’s temper tantrums. Use your discretion as each of these tips are better used in some situations than others.
9 Tips to Handle a kid with a temper tantrum
- Plan ahead
It won’t take too many tantrums for you to realize what tips your toddler over the edge. (Sorry if you’re one of those who feels like everything drives your toddler crazy – they do have days like that!) Keep those in mind and plan around them.
If you know car rides, for example, upset your toddler and cause them to throw tantrums, plan around any car journeys and make sure you’re prepared for how your toddler might react. You may need to employ number 8 below for this.
Talk them through what is about to happen so that they are not surprised. This prepares them for the event that you know might upset them. It might not stop them completely from throwing a tantrum but it might stop them from getting too upset as they would have known it was about to happen.
- Stay calm
It’s true that two can play that game when it comes to toddler tantrums. You’ve seen all those toddler tantrum memes where the mom throws herself screaming on the floor right next to her toddler. He or she has put their tantrum on pause and is looking at mommy like “What is she doing?”
It’s funny. However, it’s not a long-term solution. In fact, it might be so short-term that they go right back to their tantrum in a few minutes. At least one of you has to keep a cool head. If it’s not going to be your toddler, it better be you.
- Figure out the reason
Take a couple of minutes to help your kid with a temper tantrum by questioning your toddler and taking a look at your environment to try to understand why they are so upset. It might be something that is easy to fix. It’s great if it’s something that can be worked on quickly as it will stop your toddler going into full meltdown mode.
- Pick your battles
What is really important to you? Is it keeping your toddlers legos from him so that you can have an immaculate room and leaving him to throw a tantrum because he cannot have his legos? Or is it getting some peace of mind and giving him his legos to make a total (and hopefully educational) mess with for a few minutes? Pick your battles. Think your ‘No’s over a little harder. If saying ‘yes’ does not hurt either of you or anyone else physically or morally, let it be a yes.
- Provide options
Toddlers want to feel and exercise their independence. They want to know that they are in control of something in their environment. Tantrums can result from a toddler feeling like they have no say in what happens to them.
To help them feel more in control, offer them options. Give your toddler the choice of bananas or apples for fruit. A skirt or shorts to wear today. Let them get to pick something out. Help your kid with a temper tantrum by showing them that there is another option apart from the one currently before them.
Depending on how old your toddler is, and how much they understand, you may be able to prevent a tantrum by offering something they want in exchange for something you need from them. Now this is similar to the previous point as it also gives them an option – to take you up on your negotiated offer or not.
It also helps them to understand what is important to you as a parent. If you tidy up your toys, you get to go for a walk with me. They understand that tidying up after themselves is something that you value.
Back to that car ride I mentioned above. Sometimes, distraction works best to stop your toddler throwing a tantrum. You could distract your toddler with things to take their minds off the current, uncomfortable moment. It could be a storybook, a colouring book, game or a new toy. Whatever you know will work. The more options for distraction, the better; but try each one-by-one and not all at once.
- Don’t give in
Be firm. Regardless of how your toddler responds to the techniques above, you must dig in your heels when it comes to what you believe to be the right thing for their physical safety and the values you are trying to instil in them.
At this tender age, you are their moral compass. That is why you cannot give in everytime. That’s also why number 5 above is so important. Know what you will and will not give in to.
How do you deal with toddler temper tantrums? Have you figured out any tricks that always get your toddler to stop?