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You are in the midst of enjoying a family outing on the weekend, and your toddler develops a liking for a toy he has seen. As soon as your child finds out you have no intentions of buying the toy, in a flash, your child spreads out on the floor, screams loud enough to shatter the window panes around, and everyone looks at you as the guilty one. This tantrum is probably the first in a series of many more to come in the near future, so it is worth understanding how to deal with toddler tantrums.
When Do Toddler Tantrums Start?
Toddler tantrums can begin as early as age one and continue till your child is four. However, the peak period of tantrums can safely be said to be when the child is two or three years old. The tantrums that 2-year-old kids throw can be quite different from those of an older child because their challenges would be different.
What Causes Toddler Temper Tantrums?
The following are the probable causes of a toddler’s temper tantrums:
- Your child may be feeling the need to assert independence and throwing a tantrum may seem the right way to do so.
- At his age, the child has a limited range of words, actions and expressions that can convey his feelings. A tantrum can be an outcome of frustration about these limitations.
- Boredom, fatigue or hunger could also become causes for throwing tantrums.
- Lack of control.
- A large number of restrictions or too many limitations – in this case the tantrum is an act of rebelllion.
Do Toddlers Throw Tantrums on Purpose?
Since a tantrum is a probable way of expression of frustration in younger children, they are rarely thrown on purpose or with an agenda. As parents, if you give into your child’s tantrums regularly, they could form a habit and can continue. Older children may throw tantrums as a part of their behaviour if parents have allowed them to get away with it in the past. However, kids generally do not plan to create a scene or embarrass parents.
How to Avoid Toddler Tantrums?
Although there may not be a guaranteed method to keep your child away from tantrums, they can be reduced by encouraging positive behaviour. Here are a few tips:
- Avoid situations that could trigger tantrums. Provide your child with games and toys suitable for his age. Complicated games could lead to tantrums. Stay away from shops that are packed with temptations like eatables or toys. Choose quick service restaurants if your child is prone to act up while waiting for food.
- Set a comfortable routine: A daily routine for your child that include bedtime and snack-times, so your child knows what to expect. Toddler tantrums 3-year-old kids can throw are capable of throwing your routine out of gear. Establish a routine and follow them consistently.
- Promote the maximum use of words: Kids can understand more words than they can actually express so encourage them to speak. A child who isn’t speaking at all or clearly enough can be taught sign language that can replace words of daily needs like want; more, tired, hungry, drink etc. Helping a child to convey his actions into words can reduce his need to through tantrums.
- Allow the child to choose: By saying no to a majority of things, your child wants can frustrate your child further. Give him a sense of empowerment by giving him choices. Frame your questions cleverly. “Do you want to wear the yellow sandals or the blue ones?” or “Would you like to play out in the park or ride the bicycle?” When a child makes a choice he feels in control of the situation.
- Praise good behaviour: When your child does a good thing or behaves well, it is time to praise him. Extra attention will enhance similar behaviour in the future. When your kid shares his toys or food with another child or carries out small tasks, tell them how proud you are of his behaviour and action.
How to Handle Toddler Temper Tantrums?
As a parent, you will eventually learn that at times all your preparation and precautions have come undone because your baby can showcase his tantrum without warning. The following methods of handling tantrums can work quite effective if used just as the tantrum is beginning:
- Induce laughter: Try to make your child laugh when he begins to throw a tantrum. By triggering laughter, the brain releases feel-good chemicals in the body and reduces stress. Act in a silly way so that your child is momentarily distracted from his tantrum. If your child says no to his daily milk, make a mooing sound and imitate a cow asking him to drink it up. Pick up a banana and pretend to make a call to his friend or a grandparent. The sillier, the better.
- Hide for a moment: Every toddler loves it when the parent hides momentarily and reappears quickly. Don’t go too far and always remain within eyesight of your kid. This will surprise the child and is guaranteed to elicit a giggle or laugh from him. The tantrum is forgotten, and you can take charge of the situation again.
- Play a game: A child’s tantrums are mostly the result of the need for attention or plain frustration. By playing a game with her, you are providing attention which can prove to be a distraction. This is a proven technique that works more than often, irrespective of where you are, at home or outdoors.
- Hold the child: A full-blown tantrum or screaming fit can be controlled by picking up the child in your arms and holding it close to you. No amount of silliness will help since he may not see or hear you. Touch has great powers so make full use to calm your child too who is scared though angry. It will help melt away any pent-up frustration and soothe his temper within no time.
- Be consistent: You will need to remain calm and stand your ground. Repeat the same words and bore him with the monotony till he tires out. Your eyes and face should carry a neutral expression, and your voice should be firm. Once he understands that you won’t budge, the tantrum will lose steam within no time.
- Ignore: Children are fully aware of the fact that if they keep up with the drama, they will get the necessary attention. Check if the child isn’t overly stressed and isn’t likely to harm himself. Give him the cold shoulder and carry on with your work. Pay no attention to any of his antics till he realizes that this isn’t going anywhere.
- Speak softly: If your toddler is screaming loudly, do not try to out-shout him, Instead, draw his attention and speak in a low and calm voice till he wonders why you are speaking Try to divert his attention and speak softly till he calms down.
- Allow the banned: Kids love everything that belongs to adults and often try to reach them. During a tantrum, select an item of special interest to your children like wallets or car keys. You will have to make sure he doesn’t have the opportunity to through it out of the window or down the drain. Your grouchy child will focus on this normally forbidden object and forget about the tantrum.
- Don’t lose your cool: Your child will shout and escalate the tantrum to a higher level if you try to shout louder than him. If you lose your cool, you will lose the opportunity to show him the right way. Stay with him, and he will appreciate the fact that you are with him.
- Remember you are the adult: Do not give in to any unreasonable demands and do not ever negotiate. If you do that, your child will feel that a tantrum is a good way of getting things done.
When Will Toddler Outgrow Tantrums?
When your toddler grows in age and in strength and capability, he will face less frustrating situations in life. The more control he achieves over his actions, the calmer he will get. He/she will be reassured that he can manage things without help from you and the tantrums will gradually reduce. The question, “toddler tantrums when to worry” is a natural one for most parents, so seek help if tantrums last beyond four years of age.
Do not get excessively worried about childhood tantrums as this is a normal part of growing up. Use your parental skills to keep your child calm and handle these outbursts in a sensible way. Your child is sure to outgrow it, be assured.