Know anyone who can go from zero to cranky in nothing flat? If you have a toddler, you know exactly how the terrible twos got their name? tantrums! Tantrums are all the result of the toddler’s limited ability to cope with frustration. The good news is, there are steps you can take to prevent some of these meltdowns and ways to deal more effectively when they do happen.
Tantrums don’t happen because toddlers are wilful and disobedient, or because you have raised a dreadful child! They simply occur because toddlers haven’t learned to accept frustration. When they want to do something but can’t, they are overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness and dissatisfaction. The tantrum is simply a release of those feelings. It might help to know that tantrums are common among toddlers. It’s estimated that the majority of 2-year-olds have a tantrum at least once a week, which may last from 15 to 30 minutes.
There are certain steps you can take to help reduce tantrums. Here are some techniques that might help ward off your child’s next tantrum:
Tantrums will end sooner if you simply let them run their course. While it’s going on, your toddler needs a sense of your calm control to feel safe. So, try to remember that the tantrum serves a purpose. It’s a release of rage caused by feelings of frustration, not hostility.
Sometimes a toddler needs to be left alone in a time out?but never out of sight? and just for a short while. At other times it helps to simply hold the upset child in a gentle and loving embrace. If a tantrum happens in public, it’s a good idea to take your toddler to some quiet, relatively private spot until tempers cool.
One of the most difficult challenges is to keep calm in the face of a small child’s uncontrolled fury. Yet an angry reaction from you is sure to make your child’s tantrum even worse.
As your toddler comes out of the tantrum, offer reassurance and praise for regaining control. Try to forget the upset and look for cheering things to say. The more stable and positive you can be during and after tantrums, the easier it will be for your child to control outbursts of temper as life goes on.
For more information see Toddler Development.