Parenting is a beautiful experience, but it’s not without its hardships. Nothing could really prepare a parent for the times when your child throws a hissy fit. Tantrums in children are common – a research found that 91 per cent of children aged 30-36 months throw tantrums.
Dealing with toddler’s tantrum could be quite overwhelming, but there are ways to deal with it without having yourself in a meltdown, too. Here are a few tips to handle tantrums and outbursts:
- Spend time to explain things to your child
Make time to explain why you requested them to do some instructions; for example, “The house needs to be clean and tidy, so that when people walk around, they won’t hurt their feet from stepping on things on the floor. So would you be able to tidy up your toys in the living room?” This way, your toddler will feel involved, understand their role and how their action could be consequential to the family. Don’t forget to also teach your child to do the things you will ask them.
- Provide reward for good behaviours, and nothing for bad ones
Give your toddler incentives for positive actions to make sure they get into the habit of behaving well – for example, a praise when they follow your instructions to tidy up their toys. On the other hand, make sure not to reward them after they throw a tantrum – this will allow them to learn that screaming or hitting other people is not the way to get what they want.
- Offer choices and give your kid a sense of control
Sometimes telling your toddler to do something might be difficult. Word your questions to suit your need – for example, rather than asking “are you gonna eat your vegetables?”, try “do you want to eat your vegetables before or after the game?”; or, instead of “could you share your toy with your friend?”, you could say, “which of these toys do you think your friend would like to play with?”
- React accordingly
When your child hits you or screams loudly near you, do not simply ignore them – this is the right moment to let them know that such action is not okay. Give them a time out or withhold their favorite toy to let them understand that there will be consequences for negative behaviors.
Furthermore, make sure you follow through with promises of consequences to make sure your toddler stays on track.
- Stay calm and track the trigger
Do not panic when tantrums happen – staying calm will enable you to assess the situation and think clearly. Maybe your child is tired or hungry; accommodate their needs when reasonable.
By being calm, you can also set an example to your child and retain control in the room. Do not resort to methods such as screaming back or spanking; this will send a message that coercion or violence is an acceptable behaviour.