They are nicknamed the Terrible Twos for a good reason; toddlers aged 18 months to three years can be difficult to parent as they navigate the world and their quest for independence. This often leads to a child throwing tantrums. Getting in the correct mindset for dealing with a child who is upset can help a parent better deal with a tantrum.
Don’t React Negatively
When a toddler throws a tantrum, they may scream, throw things or hi otherst. It may be tempting to react to a tantrum by addressing the things they are doing wrong by yelling or punishing a child. A child throws a tantrum not to be naughty but rather because they don’t know how to process their feelings. Reacting negatively will only make a tantrum worse.
Get Down on Their Level
Toddler spend much of their time looking up at the adults and older children in their world. This can make it even scarier for them when they are throwing a tantrum. Kneeling down, crouching or laying next to a child and looking at them in their eyes can help them calm down. Stay in this position until the tantrum is over.
Take a deep breath and talk calmly to the child. Acknowledge that they are feeling frustrated and help them to name the emotions they are feeling. If a child is holding an object that could harm him or her or another person, such as a metal truck, its okay to take it away and put it somewhere where it won’t cause any harm if thrown or hit.
Step Away if Needed
Know that it is okay to step away from the situation as long as the child is in no danger of being harmed. If the child is in a safe spot, such as in a bedroom on the floor, walk away for a moment if you feel yourself growing frustrated. Take a moment to collect your feelings before returning.
Prevent Future Tantrums by Reducing Stressors
Child experts say that stressors, such as being tired, hungry, hot or cold, are more likely to cause a child to have a tantrum. Reducing these stressors can help prevent tantrums in the future.
Having a child throw a fit because a new toy won’t be purchased for them in the store can be incredibly embarrassing and frustrating. Know that you aren’t alone. Staying calm and helping your child understand what they are feeling can help as they navigate the toddler years.