How to deal with toddlers and tantrums
Baby and toddler behaviour can delight, amuse, frustrate and confuse you. Each different stage brings new behaviour to make sense of.
Taking the time to understand your child’s behaviour is the best way to tune into their feelings and help them find positive ways to tell you what they need.
By the toddler years, your child is probably learning to use language to communicate. But at this age children have big feelings and not enough words to express them.
When your toddler’s feelings get too big for his words, you might see a tantrum. Tantrums might involve crying, screaming, kicking, falling down, or running away. In some cases, children hold their breath, vomit and break things.
Tantrums are more likely when your child is tired, hungry or over-excited. Your child might also have his own triggers for tantrums, like putting on shoes or visiting relatives.
Try these top tips for tantrums:
Worried about your child's behaviour?
- Identify the tantrums triggers for your child. If you can’t avoid them, you can at least be prepared. For example, if shopping is a tantrum trigger, try to do your shopping without your child or after he has had a sleep and something to eat.
- Know the signs. If you see a tantrum brewing, step in and try to distract your child with another activity.
- Be calm and wait out the behaviour. There’s usually not much point in getting angry or trying to reason with your child in the middle of a tantrum.
- Be consistent about not giving in. If you give in to a tantrum now and then, your child will try extra hard to push you to that point every time.
- Notice when your child is being good. Rather than giving tantrums lots of attention, reward good behaviour with praise, a cuddle or a small treat.
- Hang in there. Tantrums tend to tail off after children turn four.
If your child’s behaviour changes suddenly, check whether he’s healthy and getting enough sleep. Sometimes challenging behaviour is the first sign that children aren’t well. If you’re not sure, take your child to your GP or child and family health nurse for a check-up.
For part one of the series, click here.
For part two in the series, click here.
This article was published courtesy of the Raising Children Network.