6 coping mechanisms for toddler tantrums

Kinderling News & Features

There’s nothing quite like a toddler tantrum, is there? That bone-chilling scream, the collapse onto the floor, accompanied by every human within a kilometre radius turning to stare. After experiencing a huge wobbly courtesy of her toddler, Lana Hallowes looked into methods for minimising tantrums, that should keep you calm too.

The other day my toddler had a meltdown at the airport. He was screaming over having to ride in the stroller and was arching his little body as I struggled to buckle him in. In the end he won. He escaped my violation of his freedom and made a break from me.

Then he sped-toddled headfirst into some people pacing with their little wheely suitcases. But some tantrums are like that, right? They are a beast of their own and impossible to control. Sigh.

The one thing to always remember when your toddler loses it, is that his behaviour is not a reflection of your parenting. In toddler world, a tantrum is one of the only ways he knows how to express his anger or frustration.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with tantrums which I hope will help us all from also having a meltdown when our little one does.

1. Know their typical tantrum triggers

When my boys are tired or hungry, a tantrum is inevitable. I’ve gotten into the habit of always having snacks in my handbag and also prioritising their day sleeps – this is as much for my sanity as theirs. I know now that ruling out these two triggers can mean the difference between a pleasant shopping expedition and the supermarket trip from hell.

2. Distract whenever possible

Thankfully toddlers have a short attention span and are easily distracted. Learn what things will switch your little one’s focus and you may be able to quickly defuse a tanty. Become a master in the art of distraction and your life will become easier.

3. Help them through it

It’s important to remember that when your little one becomes emotional, they’re not being naughty. They just simply can’t control their frustration and has no other way of communicating feelings. Help them to work through these by acknowledging the problem and talking about it.

LISTEN: Understanding toddler tantrums and what to do about them on Feed Play Love:

If they’re old enough you can also help to find a solution. For example, if they’re wailing over a sibling playing with the red firetruck, say, “I know you want the red fire truck so how about giving your brother the green garbage truck and swapping?” If a solution can’t be found, then comfort and distract.

4. Don’t indulge manipulative tanty

The world revolves around your toddler as far as they’re concerned, so they’ll throw a fit over simply not getting their own way. When this happens, you have two options:

You can either ignore it, sending the message that a tantrum over not getting their own way gets them nowhere, or if you think they’re too little to understand this, you can try distraction.

5. Give a firm hug

When your little one has completely derailed and the tantrum has erupted into a full-blown meltdown, hold them firmly. The deep pressure is calming. Use a soothing voice and reassure them that even though they’ve lost control, you are there to help him to regain it.

6. Try to keep calm yourself

Sometimes it’s hard not to also lose it when our little one does, especially when we are so tired and over it ourselves! It’s important then to learn to recognise our own limits.

If you feel yourself about to explode, try to calm down. Breathe deeply or even close the door on yourself until you have regained control and can think and react to your kid calmly.

 This article was originally published on Babyology.