Watching your adorable baby grow up and develop is one of the most amazing things in the world. When they reach 2 years old they’ll have already learnt so much and it’s one of the cutest ages as they’re able to interact with you more and more.
Unfortunately, despite everything for you to enjoy as a parent, it’s accompanied by the ‘terrible twos’. Temper tantrums are very common with toddlers, but they’re an important part of their development as they learn about the world around them. They’re frustrating for all parents and children, so we’ve outlined some key ways to help deal with them and keep your sanity!
Why do Kids Have Temper Tantrums?
Tantrums are a normal part of child development that’s nothing to worry about. Some kids have them more often than others, but usually you’ll find your toddler having one at some point.
Before you can deal with a tantrum you need to try and understand the reason why they’re getting upset. The root cause is usually frustration. This is often their inability to control their emotions such as hunger, boredom or tiredness. At its core, it’s usually because they aren’t getting what they want in one way or another
Prevention is always better than cure, especially when dealing with temper tantrums. Look for patterns in tantrums if you’re not sure of the cause or if they regularly occur at a certain time of day. If getting ready in the morning seems to cause a tantrum, try to prepare stuff the night before to reduce the time it takes in the morning.
Lack of sleep is a common cause of tantrums due to the toddler being frustrated with their tiredness. Children can show extreme and erratic behaviour when they’re tired so making sure they get enough rest should be a priority if you’re trying to avoid tantrums.
Finally you should try to avoid mentioning or showing the toddler items which they can’t have. Often a tantrum is a result of a struggle to get something, whether it’s a toy or activity that they’re unable to do or play with. Try to limit the environment to their own toys and a safe environment to play in.
Low blood sugar can contribute to a temper tantrum. Try to give you child a healthy snack such as fresh fruit or peanut butter to help prevent their blood sugar dropping.
Give them a Choice
Offering children choices can help then regain their sense of control and relieve their frustration. This won’t always work but sometimes it helps. This can stop them saying ‘no’ to everything in a protest and enable you to communicate with them again. Just offer two simple choices depending on the situation such as ‘would you like to play outside or inside?’.
If they’re screaming and banging their arms on the floor, try and be comforting and simply ask ‘what would make it okay?’ without getting angry with them. Often they won’t acknowledge your calmness as the frustration of the situation will be too great, but sometimes a bit of gentle reassurance can register with them and help them to relax.
If you’re out and you feel a tantrum might be coming on, look for distractions such as a nearby animal or vehicle to make them forget what was frustrating them. Toddlers have a notably short attention span and will often forget what seemed like the worst thing in the world within minutes if it’s replaced with something else. If there’s something they can’t have, try playing a new game or giving them a new toy that’s suitable for 2 year olds. They might reject it at first but they will usually come round to it in a few minutes and forget about what was upsetting them. If this fails, try changing the environment and going into a different room.
Sometimes, you just have to accept that the tantrum is unavoidable. Toddlers will ask for things they simply cannot have and refuse to accept when you don’t give it to them. Going home when they’re having fun can cause distress, but they’ll learnt to accept it over time. Whatever you do, don’t reward the tantrum by giving in to them. This will make them associate tantrums with getting what they want and will only make life harder. Stand your ground and firmly but calmly repeat yourself and they will learn.
Remember, tantrums are normal as toddlers learn to cope with frustration and communicate their feelings. Hopefully these tips will help you to manage temper tantrums and have a happier family life. All children are different so find out what works best for your family.