We can all picture this moment in our heads. You’re out in public, cruising the aisles at the grocery store, or walking with your child at the park, and you sense it. The slight elevation in your child’s voice, the flushed cheeks, the eyes filling with tears, you know that a full-blown tantrum is on its way. And, it’s up to you to stop this child monster before he or she disrupts everyone around them and makes you look like the absolute worst parent ever. So, what do you do? Today we have the tips to help you out.
Don’t Lose Your Cool
The minute that you lose it and start shrieking at your child is the minute that a little tantrum turns into a full-blown embarrassing incident. You may never be able to return to that grocery store again. So, instead of launching a full-scale attack on your child, take some time to take a deep breath. Even though other parents may be giving your child weird looks, they all have been there before. And, it is how you handle this situation that is going to reflect your true parenting style. So, take a deep breath, and try to stay calm when talking to your child. Raising your voice and threatening them for the whole world to see in that grocery store aisle, is not going to make anything better.
Now, this might be nothing more than a feeble attempt to stop a tantrum, but try to distract your child with something. This could be something around you, a toy they like, or telling them something. If you can get their mind off of their emotions, you have a shot.
Don’t Give In
Let’s face the facts; toddlers normally throw tantrums because they want something. It may be your attention, a toy, a forbidden object, etc. The important thing is not to give in when they demand things through tantrums. If you do, just to appease them, they are learning to do that when they don’t get there own way. When you show them that you don’t comply just because they are making a scene, they will stop throwing tantrums when they want something. I know this can be really challenging, but it’s the only way they will learn.
Talk About It Later
After all the dust has settled, talk to your child about their tantrum. Ask them why they reacted the way that they did, and if there was something that made them more upset than normal. Tell them calmly the way you would want them to react when they get upset in the future. Also, during this conversation, make sure that you use lots of positive language. Make sure that your child knows they you still love them very much and aren’t angry with them. By creating this safe space, they will be more open to talking to you honestly about their tantrum.
Follow Through With Punishments
Be careful in the punishments you throw at your child when he or she is having a tantrum. Remember that you are the parent, not the child and that you don’t need to make ridiculous punishments so that your child will stop the tantrum. For example, taking away all their toys forever is not a rational and reasonable punishment. This will not help your child realize there are consequences to their behavior. But, you do need to follow through with any punishments you make. If you don’t, your child will know that they can continue to act certain ways and that nothing will happen. Be smart about how often you use time-outs. Use them too often over other forms of punishment, and your child might not mind them as much.
Be On The Same Page As Your Spouse
If you or your husband is more lenient during tantrums, your child might not be learning that their behavior is unacceptable. Make sure that you and your husband know what to do when your child is having a tantrum so that you can handle it the same way. You don’t want your children to behave certain ways depending on what parent they are with.
Give Yourself Grace
Raising toddlers can be a difficult and trying time. It is going to test your patience and parenting abilities, but know that this period will pass. You kids still love you, and you are not a bad parent, just because they had a melt-down at Target for the umpteenth time.
I hope that these tips can help you and your spouse out as you start to navigate handling tantrums with your toddlers!