Temper tantrums in children between the ages of one and four years are very common and may be triggered by a variety of circumstances. Read our ways on how to deal with temper tantrums in toddlers.
Do you have a toddler that continues to throw temper tantrums wherever you go – home, on outings, etc? Temper tantrums can be exhausting on a parent, but there are tips that can help!
In this post, we are going to look at:
- Causes of Temper Tantrums in Toddlers
- Parenting Strategies to Prevent Temper Tantrums
- Dealing with Temper Tantrums in Toddlers
How to Deal With Temper Tantrums in Toddlers
Causes of Temper Tantrums in Toddlers
Hunger, fatigue or discomfort will often lead to cranky behavior, which can escalate into a tantrum if not taken care of promptly.
Children frequently have tantrums when they are frustrated by not getting something they want, which may be an object or the attention of a parent. Frustration can also result from the inability to accomplish a task. At this age, children’s language skills are just beginning to develop, and they may not be able to adequately communicate their needs.
Around the age of two, children begin to have a growing desire for autonomy, and frequently engage in power struggles with parents and caregivers. Since toddlers are not yet able to control their emotions, temper tantrums are often the result.
Parenting Strategies to Prevent Temper Tantrums
It is far more desirable to prevent a temper tantrum than to try to calm a child once a tantrum is happening. Here are some strategies to head off these behavior problems before they start.
Give children ample attention and praise for good behavior.
Allow children to choose between two or three options whenever possible, so they will feel some sense of control in their lives.
Make sure children get enough rest. Small children tire easily, so be aware of a child’s limitations. If the child appears tired, stop the activity and allow the child to rest.
Make sure children are fed regularly. Give small, healthy between meal snacks such as apple slices or crackers.
Child-proof the home and keep dangerous or forbidden objects out of sight to avoid constantly having to say, “No, you can’t have that.”
If a child wants something that he or she isn’t allowed to have, redirect his or her attention by offering a safe object or toy in its place.
Distract the child by taking him or her into a different room or outside.
Warn the child ahead of time that a transition is going to take place, such as by saying, “It will be time to go home in ten minutes.”
Dealing with Temper Tantrums in Toddlers
Once a child is having a temper tantrum, there are a number of ways to deal with the behavior.
Stay calm and do not shout or spank the child.
Try to speak to the child before he or she completely loses control, and tell the child to calm down.
If the purpose of the tantrum is to get attention, ignore the child until he or she calms down.
Remove the child from the situation. If at home, give the child a time-out. If the tantrum is happening in a public place such as a store, pick up the child and take him or her outside. If the child does not calm down, take him or her home. This may be inconvenient at the time, but it will teach the child that a tantrum is not going to accomplish anything.
It is very important to be firm and never give in to a child’s demands during a tantrum. This will only serve to reinforce the behavior.
Once the tantrum is over, reassure the child that he or she is loved, but that kind of behavior is unacceptable.
Temper tantrums are normal toddler behavior and should occur less frequently as the child matures. Consult a doctor if the tantrums increase or continue past the age of four, or if the child is violent and destructive, and harms himself or herself or others.
If you are a parent of a toddler, find more great resources here.