Top Tantrum Tips

Dealing with tantrums can take a lot out a parent. And the more often they occur, the less patience you have for dealing with them. Here are some tips that might keep your toddler happier and your sanity in tact.

- Carry snacks with you. Empty stomachs often make for cranky people, both young and old. Having some nibbles on hand for when your toddler says they’re hungry can often stave off a tantrum attack. Worried about it being too close to lunch or dinnertime? Just make sure the snack is healthy, like apple slices or carrot sticks, and it’ll be okay if they don’t eat too much at the table.

- Get lots of sleep. A tired tot (or adult) often isn’t as perky as one that has had enough sleep. Do your best to keep them on a regular sleep schedule. If they miss an afternoon nap, try to make up for it by doing a quiet activity, like reading.

- Give your toddler some choices. Your two-year-old is starting to discover their independence. By making all of the decisions about your child without consulting them first, you can inhibit their sense of autonomy. Present them with different options when you get them dressed or are going to read with them and let them decide what they want. They get a sense of control over their lives while you get to avoid a tantrum.

- Be informative. Like you, toddlers want to know what’s going on. Being carted around from place to place, not knowing where they will be next can be very stressful to a toddler. If you have to run errands, don’t just bundle your son up and pack him into the car; tell him where the two of you are going.

- Establish a routine. Having regular meal times, bath times, wake-up times and go-to-bed times provides a structural security to your toddler’s life, which is something that they crave.

- Learn to compromise. Routines are made to be broken. Sure, it’s bath time, but your toddler is watching their favorite (educational) cartoon. Let her know she can finish her activity but then it’s time to hit the tub. When toddlers are able to finish what they are doing, they are much more willing to do what you would like them to do.

- Make the un-enjoyable enjoyable (or at least bearable). If your toddler doesn’t enjoy a particular part of the day (running errands, taking a bath), then look for ways to make it more fun. Get some toys that both of you can play with in the tub. Buy some children’s tapes that they can listen to in the car or around the house. Anything that will distract your toddler from what it is that they don’t like will help make an activity tantrum free.

- Remain calm. If your toddler is in the midst of a tantrum, it is important that you don’t become worked up yourself. Soothe her by speaking softly; rub her back or hold her close to you if she allows you to be near. Help her see that there are other ways to deal with anger and frustration than throwing herself down on the floor and screaming.

- Ignore it. If your toddler is in the midst of a very passionate tantrum, avoid making eye contact and ignore him. Sure, their wailing screams may make it difficult, but once he realizes that he has no audience to perform to, he will calm down.

- Be safe. Some toddlers can have very violent tantrums that may involve hitting, kicking or thrashing. If your toddler is having one of these tantrums, move him to a space where he can’t cause any harm to himself. Once he has calmed down, try to show him other ways of dealing with his anger.

- Avoid punishment and rewards. If your son is having a fit because he can’t have a chocolate bar, don’t give in and feed him chocolate. Doing so only teaches him that this type of behavior is acceptable. Unless you want to deal with his tantrums for many more years, steer clear of rewarding negative behavior. At the same time, though, a toddler should not be punished for their tantrum, as it is a part of normal emotional development. Instead, offer encouragement and show them positive ways to deal with their frustrations.