We all know what tantrums are, right? And even though they’re a normal part of a child’s life (especially the two and three year olds), it can get a little ugly (there’s the screaming, kicking, crying, whining–need I go on?) and embarrassing when the toddlers act up in public. So if you’re looking for ways to handle tantrums like a pro, we’re dishing out some secrets you can use on your little ones!
This may be the hardest thing to do, but it’s also the most important one. Keeping your cool is critical when it comes to handling tantrums. You want to show your child the proper way to behave (both in public and at home), and staying calm is the perfect example of that. Yes, I know that one of our first instincts is to start shouting back, but try taking deep breaths or repeating some mantras to help keep you calm.
If keeping calm sounds impossible, then you can try to keep your voice low. Raising your voice will only bring you more spectators and your child will only get more frustrated. Chances are that if you raise your voice, your child will only start screaming louder to either match your volume or try to drown you out.
Another trick you use? The powers of distraction! Have a stash of food or toys in your bag that you can easily pull out and use to distract your child. You can also bring out a book, point out something in your environment, or bring your child elsewhere so he or she can have something else to think about besides kicking and screaming.
Sometimes all your child needs to do is let out all his or her frustration. That’s basically what a tantrum is anyway–an expression of frustration. So, one thing you can do is just give your child some space. Maybe all your child needs is a good cry, and then things will be back to normal.
Another thing you can do is ignore the tantrum. Now ignoring your child isn’t for everyone, but it’s an option you can consider when your child is acting up. If you don’t want to acknowledge a certain kind of behavior, you can choose to ignore it until your child stops it.
Think of a tantrum as a battle of wills between you and your child. And as the parent, you cannot let your little one win. (Sorry kids, but momma’s got this!) Giving in to your child will just reinforce his or her behavior, and your child will think that having a tantrum is one way to get what he or she wants.
Sometimes all your child needs is someone to understand him or her. Try to understand the source of the tantrum. Was your child sleepy? Hungry? Maybe there was something he or she wanted? After you understand the reason for the tantrum, try to empathize with him or her. Letting him or her know that you understand how they’re feeling will show them that you take their feelings into consideration, and might actually point out why they can’t have their way.
Taking them out of the environment they’re in is another thing you can do. Maybe the tantrum started at the toy store or the grocery when your child wanted something he couldn’t have. Try whisking them away to the parking lot or your car, and remove them from the source of the tantrum.
Another thing you can do is to try turning the experience into a learning opportunity. Talk to your child about what happened. Besides understanding and empathizing with them, ask them questions about what they thought of their behavior. (You can even role play this, and make the mood lighter!)
Lastly, pay attention to the triggers that start your child’s tantrum. Was it past your child’s nap time? Was your child hungry? Maybe tired? Was there another child holding a toy that he liked? Noticing these little things will come in handy for the next tantrum that you’ll face. Think of it as armor for your next battle!
Are you ready to face your child’s next tantrum? Do you know other secrets you can share about handling tantrums? Share them with us in the comments below!