Toddler Temper Tantrums, we’ve all witnessed them. Heck, we’ve all experienced them with our OWN kids.
It’s not hard to imagine this scenario…
She’s lying in the floor, tears streaming down her face, she’s screaming a the top of her lungs, legs and arms flailing.
As she lies there in the aisle, you’re standing there staring at your child, trying to decide your next move.
As you stand there , you look around. You can see other shoppers slow down and glance your way. They’ve come investigate the source of the commotion. You feel like you’re on stage, the center of everyone’s attention.
You feel their judging eyes, the embarrassment bubbles up in your chest and your heart starts pounding.
It happens in a flash, embarrassment turns to anger. The tensions starts rising up in your neck, your hands clinch into fists, you’d scream at your child but you don’t want to make more of a scene.
You scoop up your screaming daughter and run toward the exit, leaving your full cart of groceries behind. Man, you really needed those groceries today.
After you leave the store and wrangle your still screaming child into her seat, you fall against the side of the car and text your husband. You ask him to swing by and get milk on the way home from work.
Looks like it will be delivery pizza for dinner tonight.
Tears well up in your eyes, you just can’t do this anymore.
I feel for you, Mama, I really do.
Life with Toddlers
Life with toddlers is not always easy. I have two little ones myself and I know how difficult it can be.
Temper tantrums are going to happen, there’s nothing that we can do that will prevent them from ever happening. Nothing.
Every single child will have a temper tantrum, at some point. The reason for this is biology, pure and simple. A child’s brain isn’t capable of handling big emotions because it’s not fully formed until much later in their lives…we’re talking mid-twenties here.
So, what’s a parent to do? No one wants their children to throw tantrums.
Even though there’s nothing we can do from preventing a child from ever throwing a tantrum, there are some things we can do to make a tantrum less likely.
1. Anticipate your child’s needs:
A hungry and tired child is more likely to melt down than a child who’s needs are taken care of. Like all humans, toddlers need sleep and full tummies.
Make a good routine that works for your family and stick to it.
A routine will allow you to know the times of day to schedule appointments and plan for errands. If you know your child naps from 1-3 every day, it’s pretty easy to work around those few hours a day.
If you’re having a busy day and you know that lunch will be later than usual, bring a snack.
When parents fail to anticipate the needs of their child, it’s understandable that that child might fall apart.
2. Lesson your distractions:
I’m addicted to my phone. There, I said it. So, this one is a tough one for me.
A lot of tantrums, at least in my house, happen when I’m distracted and my toddler wants my attention.
I’m not proud of this…
I became aware of my problem a few weeks ago when my toddler screamed “Mommy, PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE!” Again…not proud.
Since that proverbial slap in the face, I’ve been more conscious of my time on the phone when my children are around.
I’ve noticed that both of my children have been calmer and more compliant…you know…because I’m actually paying attention to them.
I know distractions can cause problems, and that’s all the proof I needed to be more aware of my own screen time.
3. Getting Enough Playtime:
Play is the most important part of a toddlers life. It’s not just fun. It’s how they learn about their world, to regulate their emotions, and relax. Play is everything to a toddler.
Studies show that not enough playtime can affect emotional development and problems of self-control and attention.
Kids need to play. When they don’t get in good playtime, they are less likely to comply with requests or be able to regulate their emotions.
One sure-fire way to cause a tantrum is to keep a toddler busy all day, without any time for free play.
4. Prepare for Transitions:
I feel like I’m always talking to my kids throughout the day.
Okay boys, we’re going to play for 5 minutes, then it will be time to put on our shoes and jackets, then off to the car.”
“Buddy, we’re going to the library, then grabbing lunch, then home for nap.”
No matter what we are doing, I’m always telling my kids what the next step will be.
This keeps them informed on what the plan is and what my expectations are.
Do you have any other tricks that work for preventing tantrums? I’m always looking for more!