Between the age of two and three many parents can find themselves dealing with a shouting, stropping, thrashing bundle of noise. Their once compliant toddler is sometimes suddenly transformed by a tantrum, leaving the parents exhausted, stressed and sometimes red faced. Tantrums are common as children can feel very strong emotions and not know how to express themselves. They want what they want and no just isn't acceptable.
There are some common triggers to watch out for:
- Frustration of not being able to do something for themselves or not express what they want to someone else.
- The want to be more independent – they don’t NEED your help, they want to do it alone (even if they can’t quite just yet).
- Being tired and hungry.
- Not being allowed something they want.
- Needing to be the centre of attention.
- Life has become a little too much and days of frustration or anger suddenly boil over into a full on strop.
How to Avoid Tantrums
There are some things you can do to reduce the number of tantrums your child throws your way:
- Be a great example for your child – never go into a rage even when you are livid.
- Diversion is a wonderful tactic, if you sense a tantrum coming on quickly get the attention of your child on something else.
- Praise good behaviour, try to ignore bad behaviour.
What to Do when a Tantrum Strikes
- Staying calm is the best way to try and cope when your toddler kicks off.
- Divert their attention – point at something in the sky, pretend to find something exciting on the floor, did you just see a monkey in a tree? Did you just see the Bananas in Pyjamas over there? Anything that will make them stop for a minute and pay attention.
- Ignore the behaviour if the tantrum gets out of hand.
- Always avoid going to shops with a tired or hungry child – a packet of raisins or their favourite toy in the push chair can be weapons of defence against an outburst, if you have no other option but to go out.
- Don’t give in and give your child what they want if they are stropping because you've said no. If you give in they will realise that crying and causing a fuss gets them what they want and they will do it again.
Once the tantrum is over there isn't any need to go into making a big deal of it. That will only keep you stressed and ruin the rest of the day. Have a hug and pick up where you left off.
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