Photo Credit: Thinkstock/GettyHere are three common tantrum-inducing situations and experts' step-by-step advice on how to cope.
TANTRUM TALE #1
"When my son, Corben, was 18 months old, he started screaming that he wanted to get out of the shopping cart. When I said no, he grabbed a loaf of bread from the cart and started shoving it in his mouth like he hadn't eaten in weeks! Then he grabbed some bananas and started shoving them in his mouth. Several women frowned at me as though I never fed my child. I was mortified." -Courtney L., Park Hills, MO
Related: 7 Secrets of Low-Stress Families
The Tantrum Triggers:
- Overstimulation from the bright colors and the overwhelming amount of things to look at and touch
- Seeing things he wants but knows he can't have
Lay down the law. Before you go to the store, let your child know what's expected of him. For instance, say, "We're buying food for Dad's birthday dinner, not candy."
Throw in some fun. Keep your child from getting overwhelmed or bored by turning shopping into a game. Make up silly songs or have them count items as you toss them in your cart. "Redirection usually works at this age because their moods come and go in a flash," says Deborah Carol, known as Nanny Deb on the Fox reality show Nanny 911.
Make a wish list. Bring a pad and pen, and jot down the items your child is begging for. Tell him you're making his "wish list." "It shows that you not only know what he wants, but that you also care enough to put it in writing," says Adele Faber, coauthor of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.
Don't say no. Young children -- especially toddlers -- are at a stage when they are testing their independence, and "a no is a direct attack on their autonomy, so they mobilize all their energy to counterattack," says Faber. So phrase your no as a yes. When your son asks if he can get out of the cart, say, "Yes, when we get to the checkout line."
Related: QUIZ: What's Your Mom Personality?
TANTRUM TALE #2
"We were at my best friend's house and my son, Jake, was playing with a toy that has a real microphone you sing into. At one point, my friend's daughter pulled the microphone out of his hand, and Jake burst into tears and wailed at the top of his lungs. Then he tossed a bowl of fish crackers and another of pretzels onto the floor." -Judy S., New York, NY
Related: Could You Go Without Yelling for a Week?
The Tantrum Triggers
- Frustration over sharing
- A playmate who pushes his buttons
- Losing a game (especially if the winner rubs it in)
Teach him to lose. Show your child how to be a good sport by losing a few games when you play with him and letting him see how you respond, says Kathleen Kiely Gouley, Ph.D., a clinical child psychologist at New York University Child Study Center. Keep a positive attitude and say, "That was so much fun even though I lost. Maybe I'll win another time."
Don't make him share everything. To alleviate your child's anxiety over sharing, before his friends arrive for a playdate, tell him to put away his favorite toys. "This shows your children that you respect their special things, but that sharing is part of playing," says Gouley.
Referee fairness. If your child and his pal start battling over a toy, calmly tell them, "We take turns in this house." Then count to 15 or set an egg timer to ensure each child gets equal playtime.
Help him express himself. Toddlers get frustrated because they don't have the verbal skills to communicate what they want. Help him make sense of his feelings by verbalizing them, as in, "You're upset because you want to use that hammer." "Knowing that you understand his feelings may calm him," says Bonnie Maslin, a psychologist and author of Picking Your Battles.
Related: Read 7 Hilarious Tantrum Tales Here
TANTRUM TALE #3
"Every night when I put my daughter, Isabel, into her bed, she puts her head down for a minute and then pops up, saying, 'I don't like my bed, I want your bed.' Then she follows me around screaming and crying until I give in and lie with her in my bed."
--Lonni Farina, 35, Monroe, CT
Related: Which Side of the Co-Sleeping Bed Do You Wake Up On?
The Tantrum Triggers
- Being overtired
- Not wanting to stop an activity
- Wanting more time with you
- Feeling that they're missing out on something by going to sleep
Give your undivided attention. Kids often don't want to sleep because they crave more time with their parents. So despite the cooking, mail and laundry tasks that await, try to play with your child for at least 15 minutes each evening.
Be predictable. Create a bedtime routine -- any combination of bathing, reading, singing or other low-key rituals -- and stick to it. Routines take the blame off of you, making it harder for your child to negotiate to stay up. You can point to the clock when your child resists sleep: "The clock says we have to stop reading at eight and it's five minutes to eight."
Give her a choice. Getting ready for bed will be easier if your child feels like she's part of the process.
More from REDBOOK:
- The Easiest Way to Get a Bikini Body
Do You Have a Secret Code for Sex?
- Find the Right Bra, Lose 5 Pounds
- Eat These Foods, Have More Orgasms
- Get More on Love, Family & Fashion - Subscribe to REDBOOK & Save Up to 82%!
Connect with REDBOOK: