In my last blog post, I shared thedevelopmental reasoning behind tantrums in toddlers ages two to four. Today, I’d like to share some tips for creating environments that can help prevent toddler tantrums from happening as much as possible.

Preventing Toddler Tantrums

To prevent temper tantrums before they begin, remember to:

1. Reward positive behavior and do not reward negative behavior.

2. Choose your battles wisely. If you come down hard on your child and over-control him for everything, he may ultimately break out over something small and lose control.

3. Parents are entitled to parent. That means that when you want your child to perform a particular action for you, state it as a declarative sentence, not as a question. For example, don’t say: “Do you want to go to sleep?” Say instead: “It’s bedtime.”

4. If a temper tantrum is about to start, shift the field through distraction and by changing the environment. If it’s a young child, just pick him up and take him somewhere else.

5. Sleep is so important to our emotions; therefore, a tired, cranky child is more likely to have a temper tantrum than a well-rested child.

6. Structure and routine are great ways to diffuse temper tantrums, because your child feels secure when he is in a contained environment and knows what’s expected of him.

7. Add some humor, don’t overreact, or take things to heart.

8. Prepare your child for change. Your child is no different than anyone else, and he is especially vulnerable to transitions because of his immaturity. Thus, if there is something he has to end or begin, give him a little notice, and a little time, before you either remove him or insert him into a new activity.

9. Keep your promises and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Your child thinks concretely, and therefore more emotionally, so if you break your word, you can break his heart.

10. And finally, remember to give your child freedom within limits. Structure the choices that you can live with by presenting your child with these choices and then letting him choose from one of those.

So let’s say you have consciously done all you could from the above list to prevent a tantrum – and your child still breaks down. It happens. Know that we moms and dads have most likely all been in your shoes at one time or another. In my next blog post, I’ll share some tips for how to handle toddler tantrums at different stages.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.