Every parent dreads the stage of the temper tantrum. Whether you are out in public with your family or in your home, there is never a good moment for a tantrum. Commonly known as the terrible two’s, this toddler stage is one of the many parenting hurdles that make parents want to pull their hair out. However, with guidance, understanding, and a lot of patience, temper tantrums can be handled productively.
When a tantrum starts, especially in public, your first flustered reaction may be to lose your temper with your child. However, losing your temper with your child will only make the situation worse. Instead, try to collect your thoughts and focus on what your child needs. Tantrums in this stage are caused by a lack of communication. Your child is too young to understand how to communicate to you how they are feeling or what they need. In order to figure out what your child needs and stop the tantrum, there are 3 things you can do during an outburst that will help you contain the situation.
1. Take a step back from the tantrum and breathe
Taking a moment to collect your thoughts while your child is throwing a tantrum can be a tough task, but it is worth saving yourself some sanity in the end. Take a step back and take a deep breath. Doing this will help you focus on what you need to do to take care of your child. Speaking to your child in a calm and collected voice gives your child a sense of comfort, and will help calm them down from the start.
2. Figure out what your child really needs
Your child may be reacting to something completely opposite of why they are really upset. Take a moment to figure out why your child is upset and calm your child. Are you in a different environment that your child is not used to? Is your child usually napping at this time? Are you nearing a mealtime or does your child need a snack? Overstimulation can also be a big factor behind a temper tantrum. Small normalities like these are very important to your toddler. If your daily schedule is off, it may cause your toddler to feel off as well.
3. Take action or redirect your toddler’s attention away from the tantrum
Once you figure out why your toddler is really upset, take action with your child as soon as possible to alleviate the stress of the situation. If you are unable to meet your child’s needs at that moment, try to redirect your toddler’s attention by distracting them with a temporary solution.
By remaining calm and collected, you will be able to defuse the situation without making it worse on yourself and your toddler. Keep in mind that this point in your child’s life is just a phase. Just like any other phase, it will pass with the productive use of these teachable moments. If you remain calm in these situations, you will teach your child how to self-cope in their moments of distraught while also building the foundation of a trusting relationship.