The terrible twos? They're really not so terrible when you know how to handle tantrums. Toddler Temper Tantrums: why they happen, how to prevent them, and how to respond!
Let's talk about temper tantrums. They're what every toddler parent talks about, RIGHT? I have to be honest, I was really worried about getting to the “tantrum stage” with our own toddler. Ironically, tantrums are a part of my job. I work in education, and have been VERY lucky……over the last few years I've had the honor of working with some of the best behavior specialists in the country. The amount I've learned from them? Immeasurable.
So, how does a “teacher with special training in behavior support” support their own toddler? Not perfectly. Before I share what we've done with Lydia and how it helped…..I feel like I need to be transparent. By no means am I a perfect parent. I miss the mark just like every mom. I try my best, and sometimes it's just not effective. There are many areas of parenting that are challenging, areas where I feel like a total disaster. Tantrums happen to be one of the areas I'm equipped to deal with (and man, do I appreciate those experts even more NOW).
One other question that I can guarantee will come up…….is there an age limit on these suggestions? My answer is no. Children have tantrums way past toddlerhood for a variety of reasons. The majority of these suggestions were originally a part of plans for children who were identified as being on the spectrum or having frustration due to speech difficulties. But really? They just work.
Toddler Temper Tantrums
Why They Happen:
Why do kids have tantrums? Sometimes it seems like they come out of nowhere, RIGHT?
“A tantrum is the expression of a young child's frustration with the challenges of the moment. Perhaps your child is having trouble figuring something out or completing a specific task. Maybe your child doesn't have the vocabulary or can't find the words to express his or her feelings. Frustration might trigger anger — resulting in a temper tantrum.
If your child is thirsty, hungry or tired, his or her threshold for frustration is likely to be lower — and a tantrum more likely.” – The Mayo Clinic
The world is a big place. And it's frustrating when you can't clearly explain your needs, stresses, and emotions. I mean, let's be honest…..most adults struggle with this at times. Imagine how it feels at TWO. The main reason most children tantrum? Lack of ability to communicate or problem solve independently (which comes at a MUCH later age).
How to Prevent Tantrums:
To be clear, you will never eliminate toddler temper tantrums all together. They are a developmentally appropriate behavior for toddlers, and they're to be expected. What can you do? Observe things that frustrate YOUR child and prepare for them. Common triggers for temper tantrums? Exhaustion, hunger, overwhelm, navigating new social environments, feeling as if needs aren't being acknowledged.
So what can you do? Prepare yourself and your kiddo for those moments. Pack snacks, water, plan on down time if you're out all day. Prepare them for new situations. Discuss them in ADVANCE. Explain what the new environment will be, who will be there, etc. Toddlers may not be the best verbal communicators….but their comprehension? Way more than we expect most times.
Leave time in your schedule. I've found that rushing and stress on MY part? Tends to stress out my daughter. So, if we're going to a party or an event…..I plan to get there five minutes early. We spend a few minutes talking in the car, walking in slowly. I don't just throw Lydia the middle of a party without discussing….cause that? Meltdown city.
More Parenting Tips:
/How to Breastfeed for a Full Year + Pump at Work / How to Create a Bedtime Routine / Baby Sleep: How to Make Night Time Not a Total Nightmare / How to Help Your Baby Sleep Through The Night / How to Keep Your Baby Safe in the Heat / Flying with a Toddler: Travel Tips / 5 Ways to Encourage Reading / Diaper Bag Checklist/ How to Stop Breastfeeding (gentle weaning tips) /