Though it can be hard to believe this in the heat of a toddler meltdown, children don’t throw tantrums just to be brats. Any sort of change – like feeling ill or unexpectedly hungry – may cause a child to have an outburst if they don’t know how else to express their frustrations.
As a parent, you could throw your own tantrum and scream louder than your child, or you could use more peaceful strategies to calm them. If you suspect hunger is at the heart of their meltdown, you can reach for the toddler formula to settle their grumbling tummy. If it’s something else, try these steps:
1. Understand the Aggravation but Be Firm
When a child goes into a frenzy, panic and pandemonium are bound to occur. However, it’s vital to stay firm and stand your ground. Refrain from yelling back, and calmly try to ascertain what is aggravating your child. Of course, this should not be at the expense of getting hit or having something thrown at you.
Make it known that it is okay for your child to feel angry, but it is not okay for them to hurt anyone because of that anger. Your tone of voice is crucial when you are being firm as children respond more to this than to the words you’re saying.
2. Move Your Child Away from the Source of Anger
A change of location can make a massive difference to a child’s mood, so simply moving away from a specific area can be a game-changer. Again, it’s important to give your child the space to feel their anger even after removing the source of aggravation.
The most important thing is to allow your child to vent in a non-destructive way. A time-out usually does the trick. But you must still give your child the attention they need and try not to ignore them.
3. Try to Keep Your Child Occupied
Depending on the situation, it may not be a good idea to allow your child to dwell too long in a state of anger.
Sometimes a piece of chocolate or some ice cream can be just what your child needs to get their mind off angry thoughts and feelings until they’re in the right environment to process them.
4. Show Affection and Give Them a Hug
A temper tantrum may seem like the wrong time to show affection for your child. However, something as simple as a hug can help to comfort them more than anything else.
It can help them feel less alone when dealing with the gamut of emotions they are facing, and it should allow them to express themselves and explore what’s causing them to feel these emotions.
5. Don’t Overthink Things
In the heat of the moment, you may want to dwell on what has transpired or even try to discipline your child to prevent future tantrums. However, this often isn’t necessary. Toddlers tend to bounce back from temper fits just as quickly as they spring into them.
Don’t overthink tantrums or feel guilty about them, but do make an effort to minimize them by figuring out what triggers your child. From there, you can avoid placing your child in a situation where they will be triggered.
If a particular trigger is unavoidable, you can prepare for it, so your child doesn’t feel like they’re being thrown in at the deep end.
Though toddlers can test the limits of your patience, remember that these years will fly by in a flash. Tantrums should soon be a thing of the past, so do your best to cherish this time with your little one.