We have all heard about the Terrible Twos and how they can turn the most calm and angelic baby into someone who is constantly screaming, crying, pushing boundaries, testing your patience and generally making you question your sanity. Well, I thought it was a myth and when the Terrible Twos hit us, they hit us hard. To handle my daughter at the best of times is a test in itself but with toddler tantrums raising their head it was making me frustrated and wanting to bawl my eyes out. Since being a parent means constantly trying to upgrade your parenting skills I decided to take the matters into my own hands and figure out a way for dealing with these tantrums in a rational manner. These are my top 5 tips to handle Toddler Tantrums :
1) Anticipate-You know your child more than anyone else. There are always some preliminary cues when a meltdown is about to happen. If you have skipped naptime, the child has not been given his lunch on time. it is way past her bed time or when you are in that toy store which your girl never wants to leave. We know all this but ignore the hints, these are all precursors to a meltdown. When you see the signs like a whimper, being antsy and acting all tense-try to distract the child and divert his attention. “Oh look there is a beautiful Bird on the ledge” or “Oh, I bet you can’t count all the balloons in the sky”. May not work all the time but it is worth a shot.
2) Be Rational– If the child has already gone into the full blown tantrum mode it is futile to try and reason with him. There is no way that a child is going to understand that you are in the middle of a long car journey and cannot go back home to get his favorite toy. This is the time to put on your calmest voice and empathize. “I know you are feeling bad about the toy”. “Are you feeling tired or hungry?” or “Would you like me to cuddle with you for sometime” Asking questions that have a definite Yes or No answer gives a feeling of control to the toddlers which they like, especially when they feel they don’t have much control over their surroundings. Also, it is very important that you remain calm as children feed off the energies of their parents and if they feel that their parents aren’t in control of the situation, it will deteriorate further.
3) Be Assertive– Use a warning tone once, when you see an impending tantrum. If the child still doesn’t stop, ignore him completely. Till the episode blows over just ignore the fact that he is screaming out his lungs. When the child feels that his/her actions are not getting him the attention he /she desired, they will stop repeating the actions sooner or later. Do not give into a tantrum just because the whole store is looking at you. If nothing works, take the child back to home. The onlookers’ stares might embarrass you but you can’t let that dictate your parenting or child discipline style.
4) Follow Through – If you have used a warning like ” If you don’t get up from the ground right now, we are leaving the park” or “If you don’t stop screaming I am going to take away your toys till you show a better behaviour” then you must follow through on this. Don’t chicken out once you are out of the public eye. This establishes to the children that their actions have consequences and not hollow threats.
5) ) Be Loving– Above all, understand that this is just another developmental stage where toddlers are exploring their power and trying to assert their independence. Once the tantrum time is over give them a hug or a cuddle , this is the time to reassure them that no matter what they do you still love them.
Use these steps to deal with your toddlers tantrums and remember that the older they grow the more complicated this is going to become so be prepared!!!!
As always I would love to hear your comments about this and let me know if you use some other method to tackle toddler tantrums which has proven effective.