We were doing so well with our two year old, his second birthday came and went and the dreaded terrible twos seemed to have skipped him. What a happy, calm little boy we have we told ourselves. Oh, how wrong we were! Nine months later and the toddler tantrums have hit FULL FORCE!
Now I’m a Mum of three, so we’ve dealt with plenty of tantrums, but it can take you by surprise when the terrible twos hit and it seems like you’re dealing with a different tantrum every hour of the day, that’s certainly how I feel at the moment. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and think about how you’re going to approach dealing with tantrums so that you’re not caught out.
Why do toddlers have tantrums?
There are so many reasons why toddlers have tantrums. It can be really useful to figure out what’s causing the loss of control so that you can figure out how best to deal with it.
Typical causes include hunger, tiredness, illness, boredom, being over-stimulated, not getting their own way, feeling ignored and transitions (going home from the park, leaving Grandma’s house etc).
As an adult, it can often seem as though the causes for toddler tantrums are minor, however to the toddler those feelings are all-consuming.
How to deal with toddler tantrums
- Talk to your partner (if you have one) and come up with strategies that you both agree on – a united front is so important. It’s never going to work if one of you is a lot softer than the other.
- Understand that this is a phase, it’s perfectly normal for toddlers to push the boundaries. They’re still learning what’s acceptable behaviour. They’re also going through a challenging and often frustrating time where they don’t understand why they can’t do what they want all the time.
- Don’t threaten your child – this can be scary for them and often you’ll not follow through with your threats anyway! Don’t say, “this toy’s going in the bin” if you don’t intend to do it!
- Distraction – this won’t always work, but sometimes by ignoring the behaviour and offering a distraction, the tantrum will pass as quickly as it arrived.
- Hitting, kicking and even biting can be normal parts of toddler tantrums. Try not to overly worry about this. Your child needs to understand that it’s wrong, but displaying this behaviour as a toddler doesn’t mean that your child will be aggressive later in life.
- Comfort the child – you’re not giving in to them, but they experience extreme emotions during a tantrum that they struggle to deal with. It’s important for them to know that they’re loved and that they’re safe.
For more help and advice, check out this really useful page from the NHS.