For children between 1 and 2, tantrums often stem from trying to communicate a need,… but not having the language skills to do it.
When your toddler is in the middle of a tantrum, it can be tough to keep yourself from having your own meltdown.
Children between the ages of 1 and 4 haven’t developed good coping skills yet. They tend to just lose it instead. Every single tantrum, results from not getting what they want.
For children between 1 and 2, tantrums often stem from trying to communicate a need, they may need more milk, a diaper change, a toy over there but not have the language skills to do it. They get frustrated when you don’t respond to what they are saying and throw a fit.
For older toddlers, tantrums are more of a power struggle. By the time kids are 3 or 4, they have grown more autonomous. They are aware of their needs and desires and want to assert them more. If you don’t comply, they visit tantrum city.
So how can you stop these outbursts? You may not be able to avoid tantrums, entirely, but you can minimize their frequency and intensity.
Practice prevention. Making sure your child is well-rested and not unduly stressed can prevent many tantrums.
Loosen the reins a bit. Make sure your toddler has freedom and time to run and play without worrying about making a mess or being stopped from engaging in fun activities. Save your ‘nos’ for really important issues.
Stay calm. When your child throws a tantrum, he needs you to remain in control. Gently, but firmly, hold your child to keep him from hurting himself or others. Move your child away from the source of his anger and give him chance to recover.
Distract your child. Before a tantrum reaches full throttle, your child may be responsive to a change in scenery or other distraction.
Try humour. For a mild tantrum, try defusing the situation with humour. Just be careful that your child knows you are not making fun of him or her.
Help undo frustration. If your toddler is frustrated because he can’t put on their shoes, help him master that art so that he can feel a sense of accomplishment instead.
Don’t give in to demands. Public tantrums cause some parents to give in simply to reduce embarrassment, but this response will only serve to ensure that your child will repeat the tantrum the next time you are out.
Ignore what others may say or think in such cases, and focus on your child. As calmly as possible, state your rule and get on with business: “You will not get what you want by crying and kicking.”
Discuss the tantrum. After your child has calmed down, talk about what made him so upset. Don’t dwell on the outburst, however. Instead, assure him of your love with a warm hug, and join him in a pleasant activity.
Don’t take your child’s behavior personally. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty or out of control because your child has had a momentary breakdown. It is important to keep in mind that your child’s actions are not directed at you as they are simply a show of his own frustrations.