toddler tantrums

Toddler Tantrums: How to Handle Meltdowns

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How to Deal with Toddler Tantrums

If you have a toddler living in your house, you have almost certainly experienced toddler tantrums. They can seriously shake up you up as a mom.

It can be very difficult to parent through a toddler temper tantrum. Their behavior is irrational. It can feel like they have lost their sense of control and all you want to do is keep your cool. Because the last thing you want to do is yell or show your frustration.

toddler tantrums

What are Toddler Tantrums?

A toddler tantrum is when your toddler has strong emotions about something. There is usually kicking, crying and screaming and seem to be inconsolable.

They can be caused by any number of things – you have no milk, they want to be outside, you won’t get them the stickers in the grocery store – pretty much anything.

My son most recently had a meltdown because he wanted to go see our neighbors dog, who wasn’t even outside! I told him no, because the dog wasn’t outside. But nothing I said could convince him otherwise.

Why do Toddlers have Tantrums?

A common trigger for a tantrum is a child being tired and maybe missed their nap time.

They could also be hungry, or have big emotions they can’t understand. In a lot of cases, toddlers can’t completely express with their words how they are feeling yet because their language skills are not developed. These meltdowns are their way of letting those strong feelings out.

These tantrums are not easy – I have certainly not always been able to keep my emotions in check when a toddler tantrum strikes. Sometimes I’ve yelled. Sometimes I’ve cried. But I really try to just take a deep breath and remember these tips to help handle the tantrum and guide my toddler beyond it.

Remain Calm

This tip is so much easier said than done for us moms. Our emotions are triggered by these tantrums too. They can make us feel frustrated or overwhelmed or even sad.

But if our child sees us being calm and we talk calmly to them, this will give our kids the safe place to feel their emotions. And remember, if you lose your cool this time, you can try to be calmer next time. Staying calm is hard work!

Have Their Comforts Nearby

Young children, but especially toddlers, have the one or two things that give them comfort. My son has his binky and little bear that he brings everywhere and sleeps with. It is a good idea to always have these type of items nearby.

The things that provide him comfort so I try to make sure I know where they are when a tantrum strikes. Sometimes they help right away and sometimes he just throws them, but eventually they do help to calm him down.

Use Distraction

I found this parenting tip to be the best way to handle toddler tantrums. When a toddler is in the midst of a tantrum, there is no reasoning with them. A child’s feelings are too big and they are having trouble getting a hold of them.

But if you present them with something – maybe sing a song they love, bring up a new activity or show them a different game or toy, it will distract them from what they were originally so upset over and eventually a child calms down.

Give Them Space, But Be Close

I have found that even when I try to hug and calm my toddler down, he wants no part of it. He pushes me away, usually crying, which is tough as a mom because our first instinct when any of our kids are upset is to comfort them.

And even though they may not want you initially, stay close so that they know you are there if you need them. Sometimes they need to work through their feelings their own way. But staying close definitely helps in the long run.

Get Down to Their Level

It does not help your child feel safe or change your child’s behavior if you are talking to them from up above. It can feel to them like you are disciplining rather than trying to help.

It’s easier to get down to their level and try to talk to them or distract them. You can more easily try to make eye contact with them and maintain your child’s attention. You could even sit on the floor right next to them to try to help.

The toddler years are certainly challenging ones! A toddler’s behavior can sometimes be completely irrational and result in tantrums. If you are in a public place, they can be stressful, frustrating, and upsetting. But hopefully these tips will help you as a parent to handle these tantrums with minimal damage!

How do you feel when a toddler tantrum hits? What do you do to try to move past it?

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16 thoughts on “Toddler Tantrums: How to Handle Meltdowns”

  1. We had our share of these tantrum. Thankful to pass on that already. Everyday is getting better and more characters develop.

  2. Great tips. My son has been throwing all kinds of tantrums lately. Usually I just leave him to tantrum and calm himself down. Doesn’t usually take long.

  3. I haven’t gotten to the tantrum stage with my own kids yet, but I have worked with kids for the past 14 years and the one thing that has always helped at least a little bit is getting down to their level…

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