How to handle your chid's temper tantrums without losing your cool
- What causes temper tantrums
- Defusing tantrums
- Preventing meltdowns
Little kids sure can create big scenes! No matter how sweet your child is or how good a parent you are, meltdowns are a fact of toddler life. So try to remember that your child's tantrums aren't a reflection of your parenting skills: They simply mean you've got a frustrated little kid on your hands. Here's how to handle them without losing your cool.
What causes tantrums
It may seem like your child's having a meltdown for no reason (or for a silly one). But there are real causes:
Toddlers can't express themselves very well. Your 2- or 3-year-old may know a lot of words, but he doesn't yet have the ability to construct complex sentences -- or put words to all the emotions he's feeling. That's why instead of saying, "Mom, I'd really like orange juice with my toast, but only in the red cup because it looks weird in the blue one," he screams bloody murder when you gave him apple juice in the blue cup.
They are easily overwhelmed. Toddlers thrive on routine, and a change can really throw them off. That means that adding in an extra errand or missing naptime by even 15 minutes can spell disaster. Certain places, like busy stores, can be overwhelming, too.
They want to do more than they can handle. Toddlers are naturally very curious -- and are thrilled to discover they can suddenly do so many things on their own. Unfortunately, your child's physical prowess doesn't keep pace with his curiosity, so he gets frustrated when the block tower falls or he's not allowed to climb the kitchen stool.
They don't understand delayed gratification. Little kids live in the here and now, not in our cookies-are-for-after-dinner world. Not getting what they want, when they want it, is a top tantrum producer.