Being a parent is a rollercoaster ride, but when your little one starts throwing tantrums left and right, it can feel like you're riding the Tower of Terror. You know those moments where you just want to scream at them and say "why are you doing this?!" Well, we're here to help. Here are some tips on how to deal with toddler tantrums that will hopefully make life a bit easier for both you and your child.
Understanding Your Child's Brain
Before we dive headfirst into dealing with toddler tantrums, let's first talk about what causes them in the first place. As I'm sure most parents already know, toddlers aren't exactly known for their rational thinking skills or ability to control their emotions (if they were, there would be no need for this article). This is because their frontal lobes - which play an important role in regulating emotions - haven't fully developed yet. Essentially, this means that while adults have the ability to 'think before acting', toddlers don't! Think of it as if someone has hit the pause button on developing brain functions!
So remember; when dealing with your little ones' meltdown mode- don't take any action except comforting until they calm down- otherwise nothing will work out.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Some things are better dealt with by avoiding rather than curing- and guess what!? Tantrums fall under this category! By understanding certain triggers that may cause our little terrors’ temper-tantrs from erupting we can pre-emptively avoid situations spinning out of hand:
- Keep a regular schedule
- Don't skip meals
- Set expectations & stick too them
- Avoid Overstimulation Let's unveil these points briefly....
Keep A Regular Schedule:
As Einstein once, quite wisely, stated- "The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Toddlers can have a tough time adjusting to the idea of schedules and routines; they love doing things on their own terms! But, keeping in mind sticking to certain timings can prevent chaotic tantrums from unfolding.
Don’t skip meals:
‘Hangry’ isn’t just an excuse for when we're feeling testy - sometimes it's real. Not eating at regular intervals increases mood swings as our blood sugar levels fluctuate rapidly. The solution is simple: ensure necessary meal prep times are kept.
Set Expectations & Stick To Them:
Toddlers thrive on consistency and feel secure when expectations are predictable. This means setting rules and consequences beforehand—and following through with them consistently. Take time every day to explain rules and boundaries using respectful language your toddler understands!
Children don't handle overstimulation well- too many sounds, sights or games running simultaneously results in unwanted behavior aka meltdowns… avoid going to crowded places (post-pandemic :))places during peak hours such as supermarkets or department stores where there might be loud music.
Calm Down Time
A little trick borrowed from therapy tools known as ‘time-ins’. Set aside 10 minutes daily where you invite children into what’s known as “calm down space”. Here they can choose a calming activity like coloring books, reading picture books out loud etc., Just make sure this place has no electronics present! With repeated habituation, toddlers learn it becomes normalcy shutting off background noise!
Acknowledge Their Feelings
On some level imagine how frustrating life would be if someone was constantly invalidating your emotions? Understanding the importance of empathizing with our tots could drastically alter how each tantrum unfolds since a response mirroring their feelings helps deescalate tense situations. For instance- if your child is throwing a tantrum because they absolutely missed dance class, it's irrational to jump at their throat and yell. Instead show them you understand where they’re coming from by saying something like “I know how much effort you put into that dance routine today" or let them take the lead on some decision-making even when it doesn’t make sense to us.
Don't Be Afraid To Try Something New
Every child is different, so what works for one may not work for another--even siblings! When dealing with toddler tantrums think out of the box: try spontaneous problem-solving techniques instead such as substituting taking relaxing baths together in order sooth an overexcited state.
Or use humor; crafting your response package with shared laughter could defuse tense situations into giggles- Give it a shot next time around!
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement leads towards acceptable behavior rather than mere avoidance and makes children feel good about meeting expectations we set! The rewards can be simple as verbal praise which has proven effective or sticker awards that add up towards planning something extra special once the little ones racks up enough. Just remember showering kids with accolades after failures almost always proves counterproductive, focus on small victories & never belittle unsuccessful attempts - progress takes time!
Ignoring Certain Behavior (Ignore Bad Behaviour)
It’s natural every now and then you’ll encounter unpleasant tantrums but sometimes ignoring certain behaviors work effectively. However this requires awareness regarding which actions need to ignore i.e., low-level distractions that won't cause lasting harm such as toddlers fact-checking 3s+3=9 or repeating pointless chants without paying attention amid others are great examples.
In conclusion, dealing with toddler tantrums isn't easy, but keep a firm head and remain calm in any situation. Understand how their brain functions differently from ours! With consistent training set boundaries & follow through…It takes time and patience, all you need to do is put in effort! Remember a tantrum-free life may not be realistic goal (for now) but reducing them can certainly make situations manageable! Keep calm- The ride has just begun!