How To Deal With Toddler Tantrums
By the end of this post you’ll understand more gentle ways to deal with toddler tantrums, maintaining connection with your kids yet still being able to keep boundaries….
When your babies become toddlers they start to have really big scary emotions. On top of this they have very limited resources as to how to deal with these emotions.
Tantrums are an essential part of being a toddler. It’s a build up of frustrations that eventually spill over into a tantrum and it is very healthy to let it out. They are doing what comes naturally, something we, as adults, have mainly forgotten how.
There is a great article on toddler tantrums from Mothering Magazine that really explains the reason they are essential in your child’s development.
For now lets look at:
How To Handle Toddler Tantrums
- The most important thing is to be there for them when they tantrum, if they want you to be. Remain present even from a distance to make sure they don’t hurt themselves.
- Don’t try and fix things for them, or tell them not to cry. This will negate their experience. Allow them to have their moment.
- If your in a public place maybe you can carry them to somewhere more discreet if possible. But most importantly, allow the cycle of emotions to complete because this will allow them to reconnect fully with you again and have healthier emotional selves.
- It’s a good time to practice the skills of Gentle Parenting or Non Violent Communication, (NVC). Acknowledge what they are feeling. For example, instead of saying, ‘It’s OK, no need to cry, I said we have to go now.’ You can acknowledge their feelings with, ‘You want to stay and play and have fun, but we have to leave. It’s not nice to be taken away from having so much fun.’
- If they are a little older you can name the emotion they may be feeling. ‘You look like you’re very upset right now. You want to stay and play but we have to leave.’ You may need to repeat this a few times before the crying or the tantrum subsides. However, you’re not saying these things in order to stop the tantrum, but it may stop because of it.
This kind of communication is great because it allows your children to feel heard and understood by you.
Afterwards you will probably find yourself dealing with a much more content and pleasing little one because you have allowed them to release all the tensions. On top of that you will have built connection with your children, rather than disconnected from their needs.
What About My Reactions?
Its not always easy to stay relaxed and serene in the middle of the supermarket check out with a screaming 2 year old. But here are 5 tips to help you through the most challenging ones so you can engage them in the conscious communication we mentioned earlier.
1. Breathe. Close your eyes if you have to and take a deep breath, count to 10.
2. Instead of focusing on how their screaming makes you feel; embarassed, angry, stressed. Try and have compassion for their young and still immature feelings. They are learning how these things called feelings work and it may take them sometime to get them under control.
3. With every tantrum, remember, that’s one less you have to handle.
4. Look at your reactions in private, and try and understand what it is about the tantruming that makes you react so stongly or loose your own temper.
5. It is perfectly normal, and your child’s tantrums don’t reflect on your ability as a parent. This is a good one to remember when you’re getting stares in the queue at the checkout!
Let me know your own tips for dealing with tantrums in the comments below, would love to know what you think!