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Baby and Toddler – Dealing With Tantrums


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Don’t you wish there was a miracle elixir to give your toddler when they are having a tantrum? While it isn’t possible to make tantrums disappear altogether, there are ways to moderate or minimize them.

First of all stay calm. You will be adding fuel to the fire if you lose your cool. A parental blow up can also terrify your child. Your child will already be off balance with their tantrum, they will be in balance with your calming influence and reassurance and love. This calm approach will not work immediately and will not be easy to pull off but you will eventually see that your efforts are being mirrored in your child’s increasing self control.

Speak softly. Try to fight the temptation to scream over your child. It will only encourage them to scream louder as they try to recapture the center stage. A gentle and soft tone of your voice will show that you are in control and it will help your child to regain composure. Also being unable to hear what you are saying, they may quiet down out of curiosity about what you are saying to them.

Never resort to physical punishment. This is a bad idea at any time. You would be punishing the child for something that they cannot control and because you too could lose control and cause serious injury. Don’t try to reason with your child during a tantrum. Your out of control toddler is well beyond reason. Logic will be lost on them, so save the rational explanation for rational times.

Try to protect your toddler while they are having a tantrum. A toddler who is kicking and screaming will not be aware of their surroundings and could hurt themselves. Make sure there are no objects in the way that could possible injure your child. Also make sure that will not be any damage to the store or their property.

Attempt to express some empathy. Not sympathy. Say something like, “I know it is hard not to get something you want, I too get upset sometimes when I can’t get what I want”. This is empathy. Saying you’re sorry is sympathy, don’t go there, that could make it worse.

Holding your child tight, don’t squeeze too hard, but a firm hold may help your child to hold it together, a firm hold can also dissolve anger in them and in you and often will turn into a hug when the tantrum passes.

One of the best methods to help control a tantrum is to ignore it. They may get it out of their system faster. This approach is especially effective if the toddler’s demands are outrageous and you suspect that they know that as well as you do. Go about your business and make it obvious that you are not paying any attention. When you begin to systematically ignore their tantrums, they may increase for a while and then eventually your toddler will discover that it is not worth getting all worked up when there is no audience and then the tantrums should become less frequent.

Michael Russell

Your Independent Baby and Toddler guide.

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  • Posted On January 14, 2007
  • Published articles 283513

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