A toddler having a tantrum whilst being fed.
parents

deep breath: how to deal with toddler tantrums

2 minutes

Toddler tantrums. Everyone has heard of them, but no one except a parent truly understands how exhausting they can be, both physically and emotionally.

‘The worst thing about Jacob’s tantrums is what they bring out in me,’ says dad, Ollie. ‘If I’m shattered and I’ve run out of patience, I end up snapping or giving in and then just feel guilty as I know it’s solved nothing. It’s so much harder than it seems to remain calm and consistent in the face of a screaming, irrational child!’

The difficulty of dealing with tantrums

Most of us experience times when we are so exasperated we end up losing our patience with or giving in to whatever demands our little one is making. When this happens – don’t beat yourself up. Dealing with any kind of conflict, even if it is with a two-year-old, takes a huge toll on your emotions and every parent out there has felt overwhelmed by it all at times.

Not to mention that if you don’t know why your child is making such a fuss, how can you be expected to quickly and calmly manage their needs?

Why do toddlers have tantrums?

Tantrums are most common in children between one and three years old, when they are aware of their surroundings and what they want, but are not yet at the stage where they can always articulate their feelings vocally. This inability leads to frustration and ‘lashing out’ in their behavior, and leaves us well-meaning parents feeling they are being just a little bit unreasonable!

How best to deal with toddler tantrums

Alas, like most of parenting there’s no silver bullet. Looking for advice on how to communicate with a toddler may be helpful, and there are various books on this, plus online sources, often coming from fellow parents who are experiencing the very same thing. One thing it’s helpful to bear in mind is that children have quite short attention spans, so try and distract them from whatever they are fixating on. This can often transform their mood, plus be a great starting point for you to spend quality family time together.

‘When Juno used to refuse to get dressed, I would make it into a game,’ says mom, Theresa. ‘For instance, we had this little egg timer, so we would have to get dressed as quickly as possible to beat it. It worked most times.’

Ultimately, the best advice we can give is - just breathe. They won’t be a toddler forever, you will get through this and you are doing an amazing job. And if you’d like some more information or advice, check out our range of articles dedicated to the toddler stage.

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