asn’t it just yesterday you had a tiny little baby in your arms? Now that baby is kicking his legs and flailing his arms on his back in the center of the cereal aisle at the local supermarket while the other patrons stare.
Welcome to the toddler temper tantrum phase. It’s not going anywhere for a while, so pull up a chair and get used to toddler tantrums with a 3-year-old. Even a 4-year-old tantrums happen too. And if you’re unlucky, 18-month-old tantrums will definitely turn your hair gray.
But the experts say that toddler temper tantrums are normal. They are part of the process for learning and development with children from the ages of 2 to 5.
We’ve got to be just a little sympathetic because toddlers don’t have the capacity in their developing brains to control themselves. It stems from anxiety, yet another perfectly normal happening for your young and developing child.
So the good news is that it is normal and every small child does it. The bad news? You’re in for a lot more of them. But there is more good news and that is this: you can do a lot to handle toddler temper tantrums and help your child phase them out.
In an ideal world, the toddler temper tantrums will occur in the privacy of your own home. However in many cases, your toddler hitting you and throwing an absolute fit will happen while you’re out and about.
Prepare yourself to be embarrassed, and take note of these tips that will help guide you through handling toddler temper tantrums without breaking a sweat.
1. Don’t lose your cool
No matter where you are, you absolutely must stay calm. It is the essential thing you must do without wavering. Even if you wish the earth would swallow you up whole because people are pointing and staring at you. Especially if! Hold your air of cool and be very matter-of-fact as you address your child and you’ll notice he will calm down much sooner.
2. Take them away
There is nothing worse than your 4-year-old tantrums in the store, especially when you need the things in your cart to cook tonight’s dinner. Keep holding onto that cool and tell your child that his current behavior isn’t nice. Tell him he needs to stop or you will leave.
Do not simply say this and keep wheeling the cart around if he doesn’t stop it. Do as you say, and say what you mean. Is it inconvenient? Yes. But your child will get the picture very quickly and isn’t likely to repeat the incident many more times than that.
3. Don’t give in
Toddler temper tantrums occur for many different reasons. One of them is when your child catches sight of a toy or some candy in the store and then throws an epic tantrum when you tell him no.
A big mistake parents make when this happens is to give in. Don’t be bullied or pressured by your child. That only teaches your child that even reprehensible behavior can be rewarded.
4. There is no reason when reasoning with a toddler in tantrum-mode
Toddlers are just learning how to reason and having this part of the mind develop. While it’s a good idea to talk to your child about their tantrum, it’s not a good one to do it while they are still throwing the tantrum.
Remember the first rule of staying calm. Then later, pull your little buddy aside and talk to him about his behavior. Make sure you help him out by offering solutions as to how he could have better expressed himself in a more appropriate way so he’ll know what to do the next time he gets upset.
5. Nip it in the bud and come prepared
Toddlers tend to get cranky when they don’t get their way because they don’t know how to express themselves to get the solution they want.
See it from their side. Here is this big person telling them they need to go here and there and everywhere and all your toddler wants to do is take a nap, or perhaps is getting hungry and wants a snack. Toddler temper tantrums always occur because there is something underneath the surface that needs to be addressed.
6. Get to the root of the tantrum
In order to find out what that is, look at the time. Are you dragging your toddler to the supermarket, the bank, or post office during his usual nap time? If so, you should aim to get these things done either well before or after he’s taken his nap. You’ll find he’s much better behaved.
If it’s not happening at a designated nap time, then he might be hungry. You can try to feed him a snack before you go, but even if you do, be sure to always carry snacks your child likes in your bag as well as juice boxes or a sippy cup. That way, when your child seems impatient, you can offer a snack or drink and stop the toddler temper tantrum before it ever occurs.
7. Battle boredom
One more thing that sets off small children is boredom. Some things are boring even for adults but we know how to refrain from throwing tantrums while we wait on line. If you’re going somewhere where you know you’ll be waiting a while (like at the driver’s license bureau), bring activities like crayons and paper, books, small toys, or even a tablet. Children that are happily occupied will not throw tantrums.
Even with your best efforts, you’ll still find your 4-year-old throws tantrums, but being prepared and responding to them in a consistent manner will phase them out. Stay strong even in those tough moments and you’ll soon be rewarded with better behavior from your toddler.