Temper tantrums are a natural part of child development. Toddlers don't always know how to communicate their needs and often times, their frustrations come out in actions. There have been times that I have taken so many deep breaths over my child's temper tantrum that my chest hurt, and there have been times where I couldn't stop giggling. Sometimes a child's temper tantrum is no laughing matter when they become hard to control. So take heart, this crazy phase usually subsides around 4 years old. Here are seven tips to help parents calm their toddler's temper tantrum without getting upset themselves.
Stay calm - It won't do anybody any good if you're having a temper tantrum over your child's. Be a calm influence to model. Once you can take a moment to be calm, then deal with the situation at hand.
Evaluate the situation - Could it be nap time? Is he hungry? Need a little extra attention from you? Consider the situation before giving out warnings or punishments and figure out your child's needs.
Offer choices- You may have to run a particular errand during nap time so if your tot becomes unbearable, offer him a choice such as "Mommy has to get some things at the store but if you can be good until we're done, I'll let you pick out a snack in the checkout line."
Hear your child's needs - According to Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Toddler on the Block, "toddlers who are in the middle of a meltdown are incapable of hearing our message (reasons, reassurance or warnings) until they're sure we understand and respect their message." Take a moment to describe what your toddler wants before you try to reassure or give warnings. Parent who can repeat their toddler's wants, "they [children] are much more reasonable because they feel respected and heard. Otherwise, they don't think we can understand them."
Speak their language - Don't try to reason with a toddler. Use short, simple phrases. "No candy before dinner. Eat good, then candy." Repeat often as necessary.
Ignore the tantrum - Don't get drawn into the tantrum. Don't engage in conversation but if it should become physical or disruptive, say "your behavior is disturbing my space, once you calm down, we'll talk" and continue to stay busy and pay no attention to him. As long as he has an audience, the tantrum will continue.
Never reward a tantrum - Rewarding or giving in to a tantrum just fuels the fire. Rewarding them lets them be in control.
Practice these tips at home and you may have fewer occasions to be embarrassed in public places. Let your child know that being calm gets rewards.
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