The “terrible twos” is a well known phrase for parents. They can strike any time from 1 to 4 years! And are really just the years when your toddler finds it hard to express themselves and gets frustrated when you don’t understand them or as they grow, needs to challenge the boundries Having been through them with my 2 girls here are my 10 Top Tips for Surviving Toddler Tantrums. Look out for my Surviving Tween Tantrums as I enter the next phase of childhood!
#1. Don’t Change Your Mind
Once you have said no, stick to it. The tantrum will pass but if you give in and change your mind your toddler will soon realise that by having a tantrum they will get what they want.
This is especially important when you are out and about and just want the ground to open up and sallow you! But remember, other people will judge you on your reaction not on the behavior of your child.
#2. Choose Your Battles
Sometimes it is better to ignore small things that could escalate into a tantrum.
#3. Be Consistent
Every child needs consistency. If you react the same each time they have a meltdown, they will learn, through repetition, that the tantrum will not achieve anything positive and will learn to react in a more positive way as they grow older.
#4. Be Patient and Calm but Firm
Be firm but have patience and try to remain calm as your toddler is frustrated and upset and this is their way of letting you know that they are unhappy. Just holding them while they work through the tantrum can help.
Losing your cool is just going to escalate the situation to a whole new level and really isn’t good for either of you.
#5. Learn the Signs
Every child is different. As your child grows, you will become more aware of what is likely to cause a tantrum.
Watch out for signs and try to avoid situations that you know will case meltdown.
Sometimes they are just tired, thirsty or hungry. Think how you get if you are feeling hungry or tired.
#6. Distract Them
Sometimes all you need to do is distract the child and get them interested in something else to stop a full blown tantrum. I always had small toys, crayons, paper and books in my handbag for when I was out and about.
For traveling in the car I always had audio CD’s on hand for when tempers start to fray. They always worked well for me. Or I would even just sing the first few lines of their favourite song or rhyme and this would be enough to distract them.
#7. Walk Away
While your child is in the middle of a tantrum, there is very little you can do to get through to them. If they are safe and you can, walk away until they have calmed down, then do.
Give them some space and afterwards talk to them and try to help them with whatever has frustrated them in the first place.
#8. Try Sign Language
Teaching them simple words like book or milk or hungry can help keep some tantrums at bay.
#9. Pretend Choices
You can already hear it before you serve up the dinner, “I am not eating that” and off we go towards meltdown. To help avoid this situation, before you ever start cooking, how about offering an alternative, one you know they will never opt for?
Pretend Choices or the idea that they are deciding what to have can work wonders with toddlers. It can be as simple as letting them pick the pasta shape or telling then they can have chicken or pork but feeding them the same as everyone else anyway!
Sprouts or Carrots, Tomato Sauce or Mustard, be as inventive as you can be.
Bribery on your terms is ok. So if know you are heading into a situation that could trigger a tantrum, offer a reward before you get there.
For instance if you have an older child who goes to swimming lessons and you are expecting the toddler to sit for an hour at the pool. You could say, if you play happily today, I will give you a treat when we get home. This could be a program they like to watch or some raisins or sweets. So long as you have agreed it beforehand, it is not giving in!
Over to you now. Do you have any tips for dealing with toddlers tantrums? Please share them with us in the comments box below.