Advertisement
Toddler development

How to Manage Toddler Temper Tantrums

Dealing with temper tantrums can be challenging, but they are a normal part of child development.

How to Manage Toddler Temper Tantrums

iStock

Tackling temper tantrums is no easy feat, and maintaining your composure during your child's meltdown can be even more challenging. There are many reasons why your toddler might have a meltdown – they might not have the communication skills to express themselves with words just yet, so this outburst might be the only way they know how to get their feelings across. Your toddler may also be overstimulated by a loud environment or crowded space or frustrated if they have to stop an activity they're enjoying. They may also be hungry or tired.

However, temper tantrums are a normal part of childhood, and it's important to understand them to overcome them. That's why we've put together our top tips for managing toddler temper tantrums.

Stay calm

While it is easier said than done, staying calm is the most helpful thing you can do for your little one during the meltdown. Showing frustration can escalate the situation, so it's critical not to yell or punish your child during their temper tantrum. If a child is in defence mode, they can't learn from what they are doing. As a parent or guardian, focus on calming their anxiety or anger.

Be patient during the tantrum, and don't try to teach them at that moment. Wait until your child is fully calmed down, and assess the situation to ensure they are ready to talk about their emotions. Speaking to them calmly and assuring them that it is okay to have emotions can help keep them levelled. Additionally, encouraging communication, rather than ignoring the meltdown, can help children develop a healthy relationship with their emotions and better regulate them.

Redirect attention

Shifting your child's focus from what they might be frustrated over is a great way to calm them down. Finding a new toy or activity to redirect their energy toward can also teach your child flexibility and adaptability. Often, your child will forget what caused the tantrum in the first place!

Many times, children will act out because they have too much pent-up energy—in this case, it's best to redirect that energy into a positive outlet. Try getting them outside to run around or play a game that will allow them to get moving.

 Mother sitting on the floor with child playing with blocks. iStock

Handle aggressive habits

If you find your child kicking, biting, or throwing things when they are having a tantrum, it's important to stop that behaviour immediately. It is also crucial to ensure the space around them is safe so they don't hurt themselves or anyone around them.

Advertisement

Though it might seem easier than tackling the tantrum, it's essential not to give in if the child asks for something, as that will only reinforce the negative behaviours.

Always remember that you are never alone, and there are mental health professionals who can help if your child is persistently violent or the situation becomes too much for you to handle.

Set boundaries, then remain consistent

When your child has a temper tantrum, a clear way to set boundaries is to give them options for what they can do next time and teach them why some behaviours are not okay. Walking your child through the situation again and asking them if they understand why they acted out engages them and holds them accountable for their actions.

Creating household rules that the entire family abides by is another way to set boundaries without singling out your child. As they get older, those rules can change based on their behaviours and abilities.

Model the behaviour you want them to learn

Set a positive example for your child, and let them see how you express your emotions. For example, when you're feeling angry and don't express that through yelling or violence, you're showing your child that anger does not equate to violence.

Advertisement

Praise your child when you are proud of them or they've done something positive to reinforce this behaviour. Showing appreciation through words is a great way to teach your children how to speak to others.

Mother smiling and talking to child. iStock

As a parent, you know your child best. Learning what works best for your child at each moment may take some time, and different factors can cause meltdowns. Remind yourself that these moments are a normal part of childhood development and that this phase will pass.

Author

Kristen Miller, Director of Education for Celebree School, a leader in early childhood education that provides infant and toddler care, preschool, before and aftercare, and summer camp programs.

This article was originally published on Jun 18, 2024

Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners

I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Kristen Miller, Director of Education for Celebree School, a leader in early childhood education that provides infant and toddler care, preschool, before and aftercare, and summer camp programs.

Advertisement
Advertisement