Tantrums. They’re not easy to deal with. Most of the time they’re downright awful. They kick. They cry. They scream. They throw tantrums. They are toddlers and their demands are challenging to say the least. Despite all this, we can’t love them enough. Here are some tips to help a parent navigate through the tantrums, from a parent who has done just that.
- Pick your battles
If you are one of those people who think that life is about sticking to the principals at all costs, then you are in for a long fight. Stick to the important themes and be flexible with the rest.
- Don’t waiver on rules
They may spend every waking minute challenging them, but as hard as it is to see, a stable and consistent environment is what they really need.
- Communicate in specifics, not big picture
Your child can’t visualize what the big picture result is. Just generally telling them to be nicer to their siblings doesn’t help them fix the problem. Give specific examples of why something is wrong and set clear expectations going forward to make it easy to accomplish – and be rewarded for.
- Don’t meltdown
There’s nothing they loves more than to watch you lose it. Getting a reaction can be the cause and effect of acting up and throwing a tantrum in the first place in a hunger for attention. It also shows that it’s ok to lose their cool. It’s not easy but if you can find a way to remain calm and gently talk it through, it can have a lasting effect.
- Allow them to calm down quietly on their own
In a child’s ever-changing world, emotions like jealously, anger, sadness, joy, and shame can pop up daily. The only coping mechanism they know is to let these emotions overcome them, and that’s when tantrums occur. Soothing your children during these outbursts feels good at the time, but doesn’t help them develop internal coping mechanisms since you won’t always be there. Timeouts are a great way to allow them to calm down on their own and sets the building blocks for handling these emotions in the future.
- Prep them for what is expected
Most of the time it feels like your little one is not listening to a thing, but they are. So, include them in your plans. Give your child plenty of notice and details on what will be happening so they know how to mentally prepare. This can cut down on tantrums and demands when the event arrives.
- Reward good behavior
As parents, we say the words “don’t”, “stop”, “wait”, “stay”, and “never do that again”, far more than we’d like. Try making a conscious effort to flip this positively so you’re telling them good job for stopping. Reward them for making the right decision instead of only disciplining them for the wrong ones.
- Hold the line
Let’s face it. Our little guys are cute and we want to give into every demand because ultimately we crave something too – their happiness. But sometimes tough love is the answer to dealing with it in the long run. Just because they want a candy bar doesn’t mean they get it. You have to learn to be ok with the reaction. Keep firm with your answer regardless of the tantrum that may follow.
No single approach is going to work, as all children and parents are different. These are tips that might be helpful, but ultimately you know your child best. Comment below if we left something out. It might help other parents going through something similar!