In a flash your sweet happy child turns into a raging strange creature. There’s nothing you can do to stop this creature from wailing, kicking and throwing himself on the floor. Then, just as suddenly, the outburst is over and the child you know is back. What did just happen?
Welcome to the world of toddler tantrums. They are a result of your toddler’s limited ability to deal with the world around them. They see, hear and feel things that they‘re not sure what to do with. At the same time, they can’t put what they’re feeling in words and ask you for help, so the frustration often comes out in ways that both parents and our children find stressful.
Tips to avoid tantrums
Tantrums often happen because of hunger, fatigue or overstimulation. These can be avoided by simply watching your child and making sure his needs are met. A useful tool to minimise tantrums are routines. Most kids feel safer and more in control of their lives when their day is somewhat predictable.
Consistency and clear boundaries also help make the child’s world easier for them to understand. Have firm rules about crossing the road, watching TV or anything else that you may feel strongly about and your toddler may want to challenge. After a while, your child will come to accept calmly that this is just how things are.
If your toddler throws tantrums when things don’t go his way, it helps to cut down on the need to say ‘no’. Childproof your home, keep lollies and chips out of sight, don’t leave your smart phone lying around.
When you can’t avoid them
No matter what you do, you won’t be able to avoid every single tantrum. There’ll be situation when your child experiences emotions he can’t cope with and he doesn’t have the language skills to tell you about them. So if a tantrum happens in spite of your efforts, the best things you can do is stay calm, keep your child safe and wait for the tantrum to run its course (it gets easier with practice). For some children these emotional tantrums for no obvious reason may be rare, but for others they’re a daily occurrence, so if it happens to you, know that it’s not your fault. Your child is learning to regulate his emotions and tantrums are a part of this natural process.
Image by David Thompson via Flickr.com
By Tatiana Apostolova