Saturday, March 05, 2011

How To Handle Tantrums In Toddlers

I really loved it when my kids were little babies. So small and so angelic. Then they became toddlers and the angelic part slowly walked out the door as the screaming and kicking took over. Toddler tantrums! Yeah, it's a real headache. Some people call it the "terrible twos", but as many other mothers have learned, it usually begins before they hit 2 years old.

If you are scratching your head wondering what is the best way to handle tantrums in toddlers, here are a few different suggestions from other mothers.

1. Ignore the tantrum. This technique works best when at home. In public places, you don’t want to ever leave your child unattended as a form of punishment. Good behavior in public begins at home. Ignoring a toddler is not harsh. If your child is squirming on the floor screaming for a cookie, continue to talk to them as if you never noticed. Eventually, they will get the hint and stop screaming.

2. Avoid instant gratification. In public, toddlers throw tantrums when they are denied something that they want. Some parents give in to keep their child quiet but a child learns quickly. Tantrums will continue if they know you will cave. Simply tell them “no” and keep moving.

3. Don’t get angry. When you scream and they scream the situation is wildly out of control. You’ll end up crying and your toddler will still be screaming. In any situation, raised voices mean civilized conversation has ended in favor of basic primal instincts. Don’t revert back to the days of early man. Keep using the same calm voice you use when they are behaving to get your child to calm down as well.

4. Praise your toddler when they behave well. Positive reinforcement is better than negative. In the absence of positive attention a child will behave badly just to get some attention at all. Acting out and throwing tantrums may be a cry for attention. Don’t let it get to this point. Clap and celebrate when they go to the potty successfully and when they put away their toys. Good manners such as saying “please” and “thank you” deserve a smile and a hand clap as well.

5. Run errands after nap time. Kids get punchy when they get tired. A toddler misbehaves more often if they are dragged around when they are tired.

6. Carry snacks with you. Low blood sugar can lead to tantrums. If you are out longer than anticipated and lunch or dinner time is close at hand, let them eat a healthy snack to keep their hunger pains at bay and sugar levels stable.

7. Be consistent in your punishment. At home, you might use “time out” to deal with a tantrum for bad behavior. In public do the same. Sit your child on a bench for five minutes or take them to the car. Eventually they will learn that you are not a pushover and they will begin to behave.

So, what do you do when your toddler throws a tantrum?

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