Toddler tantrums can be frustrating, embarrassing, and make you feel helpless as a parent. But tantrums are a normal part of development that most toddlers go through. With some understanding and planning, you can learn to handle tantrums more effectively. Here are 10 tips for dealing with your toddler’s tantrums.
1. Remain Calm
It’s easy to get upset when your toddler is screaming and flailing around. But losing control of your emotions will only make the tantrum worse. Take some deep breaths and speak in a calm, quiet voice to help de-escalate the situation. Staying calm will help your toddler calm down faster.
2. Pick Your Battles
Toddlers seek independence and control. Avoid power struggles over little things like what to wear or eat. Save your authority for safety issues and deliberate defiance. Let the small stuff go to avoid unnecessary tantrums.
3. Stick to a Routine
Toddlers thrive on routine. A predictable schedule makes them feel safe and in control. Make sure they get enough sleep and food at regular times to prevent tantrums from overtiredness or hunger. Foster children may have come from a home where food wasn’t provided, and bedtimes were random. If these are issues that your foster child has faced, they could exhibit some behaviours that are more challenging to deal with. A foster agency like fosterplus.co.uk can help advise you if you are struggling with tantrums worse than normal.
4. Use Positive Reinforcement
Notice and praise good behaviour more than you criticise. Say what you want them to do rather than what you don’t want. Reinforce positive actions with hugs and smiles. This positive attention will encourage cooperation.
5. Avoid an Audience
Tantrums shouldn’t be a spectator sport. Don’t give in just to appease your toddler in public. But also, don’t unnecessarily subject them to embarrassment. If you can, move the tantrum away from onlookers. For example, if your toddler kicks off in a store, remove them if possible until they calm down and you can continue shopping.
6. Validate Their Feelings
Frustration, anger, and fear drive tantrums. Acknowledge their emotions and help them use words. Say, “I see you are angry because you can’t have sweets. Let’s talk about it.” This models healthy emotional expression.
7. Set Clear Limits
Be consistent with rules and discipline. Explain the consequences if they misbehave in simple terms. And be prepared to follow through calmly if limits are tested with a tantrum.
8. Offer Choices
Give your toddler some sense of control by providing two suitable options, like, “Do you want to wear the red or blue t-shirt today?”. Being able to choose reduces power struggles.
9. Use Distraction and Redirection
Shift their attention towards something positive if you catch a tantrum brewing. Say, “Let’s go play with your trains now!” or “Here are some toys to play with in your room for a while.” Move them away from the off-limits item.
10. Be Patient and Consistent
It takes time and consistency to shape behaviour. Stick with your approaches through the tantrum phases. Know that this phase will pass as your toddler learns self-regulation. Stay calm and be the anchor they need.
Toddler tantrums are temporary challenges during an important developmental stage. With empathy, consistency and boundaries, you can handle them in a way that teaches critical emotional skills.