If you’re the parent of a toddler, then you probably know the overwhelming (and embarrassing) feeling of your little one having a complete meltdown in public. Toddler tantrums can happen at the grocery store when you say no to a bag of candy or even at the public pool when you tell them it’s time to leave. It’s an experience every parent dreads and every parent knows all too well.
How to handle toddler tantrums.
These terrible spikes in emotions can happen at any time. They can make you feel like you’re helpless and alone. Toddler tantrums are inevitable when you have kids and they have to be dealt with no matter how much you want to avoid them. The good news is there are ways to handle these tantrums so that you can move on more quickly and start having a good time with your child.
1. Give Space
Everyone needs to let their emotions out. The same goes for children. Let your child have their toddler tantrum so that they can express their feelings and get them out of their system. Yes, this might involve screaming and yelling, but it’s necessary. When they are done they will be able to function normally, so just let them go.
2. Ignore the Meltdown
A lot of parents think that they should try to work out the tantrum with their little one, but this is actually not the best solution. Since your child is not thinking clearly, they are not going to respond to reason. Most experts agree that anything you try to do will actually make the situation worse, so the best solution is to just ignore the tantrum.
3. Control Your Emotions
It’s likely that your child’s spike in emotions is going to spike your own, but you need to keep it together! Stop, don’t lose control, and start screaming or yelling at them, because it’s not going to do anything but make the situation worse. Stay calm and know that these emotions will eventually pass for both of you. This can be difficult, but practice will make perfect. Try taking deep breaths and closing your eyes if you need to calm down.
4. Distract Them!
Toddler in mirror
If you see that your child is about to go into meltdown mode, then distract them as soon as you can! This means changing the subject so they forget about what they were upset about. Luckily for you, kids have short attention spans and will likely switch gears within moments. For example, if you’re about to face a breakdown in the grocery store, then ask your child to help you pick out a type of cookie mix to get. That way they are involved with shopping and forget about the candy they wanted.
5. Remove Them From the Situation
Sometimes tantrums can go on for a while. If you don’t want everyone around you to deal with it with you, then remove your child from the situation. This might mean you have to sit your grocery cart to the side while you go sit in the car with your son or daughter, but it will be worth it. Kids can’t remove themselves from the situation, so sometimes they need their parents to do it for them.
6. Tend to Basic Needs
If your child is hungry, thirsty, tired, or needs to go to the bathroom, then you need to make sure those things are taken care of. Offer them some water, ask if they need to go to the bathroom, and ask if they are hungry. Sometimes children just let their basic needs affect their emotions. Adults do it, too! By tending to your child’s basic needs, you can eliminate those from reasons why the tantrum is happening.
Some tantrums are the result of kids not being able to communicate to parents what is wrong. Since the vocabulary of a 2 or 3 year old isn’t exactly expansive, you need to find other ways for your child to communicate with you.
One great way to get them to tell you what is wrong is by saying “show me” to them. Then they can show you what it is that they want so you know why the tantrum is going on. You could also teach your child some basic words in sign language so that they can communicate without having to use words.
These tips on toddler tantrums can help you get through even the worst of tantrums so that you can maintain peace of mind and not lose control. Remember, kids are just kids and they don’t have fully developed brains when they are toddlers. By being understanding and calm, you can get through these toddler tantrums and enjoy the good times a whole lot more!