Understanding Toddler Temper Tantrums

In a moment, your child is as happy as can be; the next he/she becomes a ball of rage —thrashing out of control. Tantrums are, unfortunately inevitable. Why? Because from the time they are a baby bump up to when they are a toddler, it can be really upsetting to be incapable of saying what you mean. When you have a toddler, tantrums are normal. Here’s how to cope with them.

Tantrums start as early as 12 months old and typically continue beyond 4 years. Tantrums occur most frequently when a child is around 2 years of age.

Causes of Temper Tantrums

  • Frustration with their limited abilities to express how they feel
  • Being unable to communicate with words
  • They feel the need to claim independence
  • Having too many limits
  • Their lack of control
  • Hunger, boredom, fatigue, or overstimulation

While tantrums are sometimes inevitable, here are a few ways to help head them off

Work on the personality of your child

Keep a schedule of their regular meal times, nap times and bedtimes. Do this so that your toddlers can expect various aspects in their day. This will make them feel secure and in control. This will mean avoiding unplanned grocery shopping, or overscheduling before meal times or nap times.

Childproof your home

Reduce the need to say “no” by childproofing your home. Set proper limits. This way, you don’t have to keep telling them “No, don’t touch that”.

Provide them with a choice when possible

Let them make decisions by providing them with a choice whenever possible. Ask them questions like “Do you want pancakes or yogurt this morning?”. This will help your toddler feel more in control.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you’re taming your toddler’s tantrum

  • Don’t easily give in to their demands. This will only teach them that their tantrums are a means to an end.
  • Avoid physical punishment. Punishment is never a good idea, and it’s risky when their emotions are still running high. You don’t want to lose control and hit your toddler.
  • Keep them safe. When they’re out-of-control (thrashing and hitting), step into a safer area. Pick them up tightly (no dragging or pulling). If you’re out in a public place, pick them up and go outside or to your car. If this is not practical, hold them tightly to prevent them from hurting themselves. Surprisingly, some toddlers actually calm down when they’re tightly held.

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