Understanding your Toddler’s Tantrum


Handling a toddler’s tantrum can be frustrating. It is one of the most difficult situations for a parent to cope up with. However, getting enlightened on why toddlers throw tantrums and how to look at your toddler’s tantrum can help you manage the situation better.


Toddlerhood is sometimes referred to as the terrible twos or terrible threes, and there is a reason to it! Most children aged between 1 and 3 make tantrums quite often and though a toddler’s tantrum is a normal part of childhood development, understanding why tantrums happen and how to handle them can relieve parents from taking in too much of parenting stress.

What is a toddler’s tantrum?

When a toddler is frustrated or angry for some reason, he or she may express the emotion by way of crying, screaming, throwing things, rolling on the floor crying or other forms of aggressive behavior. In extreme cases, tantrums may lead to breathing difficulties or vomiting.

Why do toddlers throw tantrums?

The bottom line of a child making a tantrum is frustration at something. Here are the common circumstances under which toddlers make tantrums:

·         As a child begins to understand his surrounding environment and tries to get involved with it, he may want to explore several things around him. In the process he may fail, get disappointed or feel challenging.

·         He may feel restricted by his inability to communicate what he wants and what he feels.

·         A child who feels sleepy or hungry may not recognize what he or she is feeling though he may feel uneasy or uncomfortable.

·         He may get upset when parents impose a ‘no’ on something he wants to try. A child may want to flip the pancake but the parent may not allow for safety concerns around a gas stove.

·         He may feel terrible if he is unable to accomplish a task. For instance, a child trying to stack blocks may continuously see it falling down and it can make him frustrated.

How do toddlers behave during a tantrum?

Toddlers express their frustrations by inappropriate and disorganized behavior. The most common behavioral patterns during a tantrum include:

·         Loud cries with or without tears, screaming or silent sobbing

·         Demanding things that are out of logic or something that is not feasible for the parent to do

·         Repeating their demands without heeding to what the parent is trying to explain

·         Inappropriate etiquettes of behavior in public places

·         Refusing to settle down even after a long time of heightened behavior

 

How to handle your toddler’s tantrum?

There is no one way to do it! But you can develop a handling strategy as you get more experienced as a parent of a tantrum-throwing toddler. Some of the best practices to include in your strategy are:

1.       Remain calm – no matter how worse the situation gets! Yes, it is easier said than done. Yet, it is possible to pre plan to be calm when your toddler feels upset. Responding aggressively to a toddler’s tantrum is just like you throwing a tantrum in response to your toddler’s.

2.       Most often, parents react as though the child is making a tantrum on purpose. However, as an adult, you will have to understand that your child is still in the growing stages of emotional development. It might take a few years more for your child to realize what he does during a tantrum. Until then, or perhaps even longer, he needs your reassurance that you are going to be there for him at all times. Be with your child to take time to address his emotion. Never give up and walk away during your toddler’s tantrum.

3.       Speak to your child to help him verbalize his problem. Sometimes, toddlers may not be able to identify the problem but asking questions can make them point out what the problem is.

4.       Provide proper explanations to why your toddler’s demand cannot be met. He may seem not to listen to you, but do not give up. Tantrums are opportunities for you to impart knowledge to your child on important matters of life.

5.       Give him time to settle down. Do not rush the situation in haste. Your toddler may adamantly sit on the floor of a mall refusing to get up until he gets the toy he saw at the store. It might be an embarrassing situation for you, yet wait for the ordeal to get over. People watching you or judging you or your child are not really important.

How to de-stress after a tantrum episode?

It may be difficult and sometimes overwhelming for parents to handle a toddler’s tantrum. The reasoning ability of a toddler is at its infancy stage and this may make any attempt by the parent to reason out things utterly, terribly futile. It requires patience and maturity for the parents to help soothe their toddlers. If this process adds stress to your well-being, make sure to get relieved instead of accumulating in some corner of your mind. Here are some suggestions:

·         Once in a while or after your child’s emotions are stable, leave your child to be taken care by a family member or friend and take time off for yourself.

·         Create a pleasant time with your child by reading books, cooking together or playing with toys.

·         Relax with a good nap if nothing else is what you need.

Can you prevent your toddler’s tantrum?

If your child is habituated to throw a tantrum for a particular reason, for instance, your child refuses to leave the play area as an everyday routine, you can plan before-handedly to handle the situation. However, tantrums cannot be completely prevented. As a matter of fact, tantrums are opportunities for your child to learn and grow in important aspects of his life. Also, they make a great opportunity for you as well to grow to a more mature and patient parent. And be assured that your toddler’s tantrums are not going to last long!


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