There is no easy way to manage toddlers. They simply require lots of time and attention. Here is all the information you need to know to help manage your toddlers temper tantrums.
Why do toddlers have temper tantrums?
Toddlers have not a fully developed frontal lobe which means they often can feel ‘flooded’ by big feelings and most of all they need a calm parent to help them regulated their emotions and to soothe and calm them. That means we need to take a few deep breaths to calm ourselves or hand over to our partner as we step out of the room to self-calm. Toddlers need us to be patient with them and to be present throughout the day. They need to feel understood and accepted by the people who care for them most.
Want fewer toddler tantrums?
Then really give them a sense of being listened to & understood. Children really need to be heard and understood. This can be very difficult for toddlers who cannot fully express themselves. It can lead to lots of frustration, which can lead to the dreaded tantrums.
How to deal with a toddler temper tantrum
Stay calm- Probably the most important this sets the tone, what tone do you set? The calmer you are, the calmer they will be– this models positive ways to handle big feelings
Prepare your child for situations that might be upsetting – for example, times when your child might have to be separated from you
Create a low-risk environment for your child to explore, be independent and make mistakes. Mistakes help them to learn new skills.
Help your child put feelings into words and talk through angry feelings
Remember this, your child is not trying to make your life difficult, they are trying to show you that things are not easy for them through their negative behaviour. It could be jealousy of a new baby or feeling given out to by Mum or anxious about going to crèche. Therefore, the best response to difficult behaviour is to be Kind and Compassionate. Planned ignoring of poor behaviour and instead focus on ‘catching them being good’ will improve things. All behaviour reinforces so the more you tell them what they are doing right, the more ‘right’ they will do.
Top tips for preventing troublesome toddler behaviour
Come down to the child’s eye level,
Use their name,
Look at them
Listen for the feelings behind the words.
Acknowledge how they feel,
Put a bit of fun into it, it’s when we get to serious and are trying to force an issue ‘We’re putting the shoes on and that’s it!’ that they dig the heels in (literally!).
How to prevent temper tantrums
Really tune into what your child is trying to say and notice the feelings behind the words
Make a few minutes every hour to talk with your child and see the difference
Meet the need in the moment if you can so when your toddler comes to you, try to drop whatever you are doing to talk. It is likely your child only really needs your undivided attention for a minute or two. Sometimes even a “aah, I see” lets them know you are listening.
Eye contact is so important for them to know they have your attention.
For more practical parenting tips, why not try:
One day parenting courses run monthly
Parenting talks for schools/companies
Cyber bullying talks for junior/senior schools
In-house corporate talks and workshops for working parents groups
Check out Sheila’s Wellbeing site at www.sheilaomalley.ie