Understanding that toddler tantrums can be caused by your child feeling frustrated and unable to properly communicate these feelings of frustration can help you be a little more patient with the tantrums, but how do you deal with them effectively?
Helping your toddler, who clearly isn’t enjoying the tantrums any more than you are, is tricky, but if you are committed to dealing with the tantrums effectively with a view to leaving them behind (at least until the teenage years), you can deal with them.
The key to dealing with tantrums is to use a combination of techniques that teach your child that losing control of their temper does not get them what they want, and in contrast, communicating as best they can, is much more likely to get them positive results.
If you child throws a tantrum, don?t get so frustrated that you end up giving them what they want. This will reinforce the behaviour. Think of it this way, if you had a magic button you could press that got you what you wanted, you?d press it wouldn’t you? Even if you were told not to? If there were no consequences? Of course you would! That’s what a toddler tantrum is all about ? getting what they want. Usually it is a response to not being able to have that, so common triggers for tantrums include the word ?no?, objects out of reach, being told that something has to happen that they don?t want to happen ? so bathtime, bedtime, the end of the cookie?
Don?t give in and give the child what they want, instead offer a distraction in the form of a toy or a chat and if the child isn’t interested or redoubles their tantrum efforts, then let them tantrum. This isn’t cruel, you ensure your child is safe, you don?t leave the room, you simply let them get on with their tantrum and when are ready to stop, you approach them again. They have learned that the tantrum didn’t work, and they will be less likely to try it again.
If your child sees you calm and in control, they will be more likely to keep calm themselves. They will pick up on your behaviour if you lose your temper and learn that it is normal and acceptable to let go of control and lose their own temper. It can be difficult, ok almost impossible, to keep your calm when you have a tantrum-prone toddler, but every time you are able to stay calm and collected, your child gets a lesson in how to behave (so count to 10, or 100, and breathe deep!).
Be reassured that the tantrum stage doesn’t last forever and it will be considerably shorter and easier to deal with if you don?t engage with the tantrum and instead, stay in control and allow it to pass without turning it into a successful (and repeatable) technique for getting what your little rascal wants! Remember that they don?t enjoy having a tantrum and if they aren’t getting anything out of it, they aren’t likely to do it very often.