You are here

3 Ways to Tame Baby and Toddler Tantrums

Tantrums appear more frequently in strong-willed and deep-feeling children because their desire to do something or communicate a feeling is ahead of their verbal ability to do so, leading to their frustration and consequent overwhelmed behaviors. Tantrums exhaust parents and upset the child, but you can keep them to a minimum by employing a few tricks.

Identify Tantrum Triggers
Keep a tantrum diary. What situations set up your little volcano to erupt? When and where do they often happen? If your toddler has an afternoon meltdown at the supermarket, try to shop just after morning naptime. Once you know what ignites her frustration, you can head off tantrums before they happen.

Embrace Long Goodbyes
Our 2-year-old Matthew's temperament quirk was his ability to hyperfocus -- a quality we wanted to encourage and not squelch. If we tried to quickly extract him from his toys for bedtime or to leave a play group, he would throw what we called a "hissy fit." We realized we were igniting a protest if we tried to pull him away from his play too fast. So, we started giving him time to "sign off." At least five minutes before we needed him to click out of his agenda and into ours, we said, "Matthew, say bye-bye toys, bye-bye friends, bye-bye Grandma..." This was easier on everyone than dragging a screaming child away from the play group.

Accept the Tears
When your child is having a tantrum, you want to be there for them, but it's important to not always try to calm them down and shush them. It's okay to let our toddlers mourn the loss of a toy or be sad when they have to leave Grandma's house. If we always shush them when they are upset, we send the message that it is not okay to be angry and show it. Life is disappointing at times, and it's okay to let your feelings show it.