Temper Tantrums: A Parent’s Toolbox

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that you’re the adult when your toddler has a temper tantrum. We get frustrated ourselves, we worry what other people think if we’re in a public place. Take a deep breath, and take heart, temper tantrums are a normal part of toddler development between the ages of one and three. These too shall pass. I wanted to share a few ideas to make the road a little easier. As the parent of three young kids, I’ve most certainly been in your shoes!

Why does this happen in the first place?

It isn’t a character flaw; it’s part of your child’s development. Temper tantrums occur when a crying child can’t express his needs, or can’t control her emotions when frustrated. Think about yourself for a moment. Imagine you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language. You’re hungry and just want something… anything… to eat. Frustrated? Absolutely. Welcome to your toddler’s world. Time and maturity serve to guide our actions. Your little one just needs some help.

Be prepared.

Preparation is your best line of defense. Anticipating behaviors beforehand, and having a go-to plan in place will get you through tantrums that much quicker.

Tantrum Toolbox

Ready? First off, remain calm, cool and collected. Your child takes cues from you. If you’re upset, angry and frustrated, your little one is likely to mimic that behavior. Instead, do your best to stay calm and assess the situation by reading the signs and taking appropriate action, which sometimes means ignoring the behavior.

  • Provide choices that you find acceptable.  Give your child a chance to learn decision-making. For example, would they like their bath before bedtime stories or after? Avoid yes/no scenarios such as “Do you want to take a bath?” Allowing them to choose makes the whole process easier, and you’re likely to avert a tantrum.
  • Distract your child. If she’s wanting to do something she simply cannot do, try and find something related that you can show her how to do. She may not be ready to chop vegetables, but she can help to choose them and begin to learn how to wash them. Start with simple tasks.
  • Pick your battles. It’s important to know your child’s limits. If your toddler is tired and hungry, it may not be the best teaching moment. Remove them from the situation and give them a break for a snack or a rest.
  • Protect. Above all else, we need to protect our children and keep them safe. There will be certain situations that call for a time out (if they’re a bit older) or a calming hug when you stop everything and just hold them for a few minutes. It will take some time before they learn concepts like street-sense. In the meantime, we need to keep calm, keep them safe and explain why we don’t do certain things.
  • Be consistent. It’s hard; I know this from personal experience. Sometimes we’re just tired and we don’t feel up to the task. In this case, you are better off in the long run if you maintain consistency. If you don’t, next time will be that much more difficult.

We’ve got your back

Regardless of the reason for the temper tantrum, and any subsequent tears or time-outs, take the time to remind your little one you love them, no matter what. To the moon and back.

You can always call on us here if you need help. If these methods aren’t working, or your child is getting worse, if they’re trying to hurt themselves or others, call us. We are just a phone call away and we really are here to help. And that goes for you as well as your child. Parenting isn’t easy, but having a partner you can call on for help makes those bumps in the road a little easier to handle.

Dr. Kelly Newgent is a pediatrician in Littleton, Colorado at Greenwood Pediatrics. She enjoys….She currently lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband, their 2 young sons and thier very active golden retriever. She loves being active, traveling, skiing, playing with her kids, and tackling her ever expanding library of books in her spare time.

Posted: 7/6/2017 2:35:34 PM by Deb Braun | with 0 comments
Filed under: consistent, tantrum, temper, Toddler


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