A few months after my little one’s second birthday had passed, tears rolled down my cheeks as I found myself helpless in controlling my child’s burstout one fine day. Although these meltdowns are quite common during this age, I was worried seeing her unusual yelling and non-stop crying. I then searched for ways to deal with these tantrums and got to learn few tips, which I would like to share here. So let’s explore about temper tantrums and the ways to cope up with it.
What are Temper Tantrums
Temper tantrums range from whining and crying to screaming, hitting, kicking, biting, stiffening limbs, falling down to holding breath. This usually happens between 1 and 3 years of age. A reason for this is that kids want to express themselves but find it difficult which may make them feel frustrated. This frustration sometimes comes out as a tantrum. Learning to deal with frustration is a skill that a child gain over time. Tantrums are less likely once a child learns to speak more and express themselves. They are far less common by the age of four. Some kids tend to have tantrums often, while others have them very rarely.
How to deal with toddler tantrums
Helping toddlers control their emotions during temper tantrums is one of the most important part of parenting and childhood development. Parents can reduce the frequency, intensity and time span of tantrums. Here are some ideas to cope with it.
1. Figure out the reason for the tantrum
Tantrums may occur if kids are tired, hungry, uncomfortable or bored. Ward off these! Planning outings and shopping after your child’s regular nap time seems to help, as they won’t feel tired once they’ve had a good rest. Also make sure to leave your home with your tot’s tummy full – and don’t miss to take his healthy snack and a favourite small toy or book, so that he/she could be engaged without getting bored. Through trials you’ll be able to find out the time of the day that would work best for your child.
2. Find a distraction
If you feel like your child is about to be in a meltdown, find something to distract him/her straight away. Make yourself sound surprised and interested and point to something around you or outside the window, so that he/she gets distracted. Keep in mind that timing is very important here – most distraction methods ( like pointing something in a surprised and interesting tone, giving a favourite and safe toy , playing an enjoyable game or moving away from that place) work best if you use them just as your child seem to start to lose control. Try to gently remove him/her from the source of tantrum.
3. Be patient
Do not lose your temper and shout back to kids during meltdowns. This won’t do any good, but may make the situation more worse. Be patient and whisper to your child in a gentle, yet firm voice and try to settle him/her down. As soon as your toddler realise your talk, he’ll probably calm down to try to figure out why you’re talking so quietly. Its common that toddlers may hit, bite or kick during burst outs. But parents should never hit or shout back, as this could make them think it’s acceptable to do this. Instead make it very clear that it hurts and you won’t allow that behaviour.
4. Show them you love them, not their behaviour!
Honour your child’s good behaviour and give lots of praises and cuddles when they’re portraying good behaviours. Also let him hear you comment about his good qualities to dear and near ones when you get a chance. This will make him/her feel proud and hence motivates him/her to always exhibit the right conduct.
5. Don’t react
Sometimes, not reacting to their shout outs may work, as long as your child does’nt seem stressed out or don’t hurt himself. Just continue with your work. This works best if a meltdown happens at home. In that case, try not reacting to whatever they do, as long as they are not doing anything that could be harmful to them or the surroundings.
6. Don’t change your mind
Never change your word to end a tantrum. This won’t help in the long run. If you have said “no” to something that’s not acceptable, stick to what you have said – “no”. Otherwise kids may start to think that tantrums can get them what they want. So keep calm and don’t give in. Keep your voice even and your face neutral. Be consistent and calm! If you are out in public and your child does’nt calm down, consider ending the outing rather than changing your mind to end the tantrum.
7. Help them let their feelings out in another way
Try to find an open space and let your child to run and shout. Make your child feel that you do recognise his/her feelings. This will help them express themselves without hurting anyone.
You can try saying ” I know you are feeling angry about ……”. This would not only make kids understand that you recognise their frustration, but also would help them name their feelings and think about them.
8. Hold your child firmly until the tantrum ends
Sometimes no amount of distractions, silliness, play, reasoning or non-reaction works. If your child is that upset, he won’t be able to see or hear you. At these times, we can rely on the power of our soothing touch. Loosing control can be scary for a little kid. So pick him/her up, hug and gently reassure him/her.
9. Understand your child’s temperament
Remember that each child is different – find out what works for your tot and stick to it. Each child will have a different temperaments – evaluate your kid’s tolerance level and try controlling within his/her limits.
Examine what situations or incidents provoke your child and put him/her out of control. Keep these in mind and try not to expose him/her to those circumstances as far as possible.
So, these are some of the tantrum taming ideas that I’ve got to share, which I hope will be helpful especially for first-time mums. Be prepared to try and handle meltdowns even if it happens for no obvious reason – remember it’s completely normal for toddlers to burst out at anytime. This is just a phase of childhood development. It will pass too!
So be cool mums and dads.
Note : If you really worry about your child’s behaviour, you may talk to your child’s doctor and get help.