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Toddler Tantrums – Solutions

Ah toddler tantrums! The nightmare we parents hope won’t happen in a public place and hopefully won’t happen at all. But wishing that toddler tantrums never happen isn’t effective at all. So learning how to prevent and manage toddler tantrums is your best option!

In this article about toddler tantrums, I’ll explain the different contributing factors, the ways to prevent a tantrum from happening and the ways to end a tantrum fast.


Contributing factors of toddler tantrums

Even though the reasons behind toddler tantrums are always the situation itself (not buying your child a toy at the mall, not wanting to go to bed, to leave a birthday party, etc), there definitely are some contributing factors that often are the following (next to each factor are advices to help avoiding these factors and therefore preventing a tantrum):

  • Your toddler is tired. Advice: Don’t go out with your child when is tired, it’s better to go out right after your toddler’s nap.
  • Your toddler is hungry. Advice: Carry something to eat in your bag everytime you go out with your child.
  • Your todder doesn’t have a good sense of time. Advice: Toddlers are reassured by schedules and routines and don’t have a good sense of time. So it’s very important to warn your child 10 minutes before leaving the park for instance, helping him prepare himself to go, to stop playing, to go to bed, etc.
  • Your toddler doesn’t know what you expect. Advice: When you go out with your child in a public place, your toddler who has a hard time managing his emotions (which is normal at that age!) will react impulsively but if you talk to your toddler prior to going out and explain him how you expect him to behave while you’re both out, your toddler will keep in mind what you said. Emphasize the fact that you’re happy to go out with him when he’s nice.

Now you know the little things you can do prevent toddler tantrums from happening and the different factors that can contribute to a tantrum. Now let’s see how to deal with toddler tantrums.


Dealing with toddler tantrums

In order to effectively deal with toddler tantrums, parents need to do their best to prevent a tantrum from happening and not feel like they failed if it does happen because the tantrum will be way easier to handle anyway. So here are the best ways to handle toddler tantrums:

  • Remain calm, speak softly and ask your toddler to explain to you why he’s so upset (if it’s not clear) because that’s the only way you can help him (telling him that will show him you’re not against him). If your toddler doesn’t speak well yet, tell him what you think his tantrum is all about. You can hug your toddler too in case he might actually just needs your affection. But if he rejects you and goes on with his tantrum, don’t hug him and be firm (but still calm).
  • Be compassionate: When your toddler throws a tantrum, tell him you understand his frustration and anger but that you won’t change your mind. Your toddler needs to understand right away that he won’t gain anything from his tantrum. 
  • Offer alternatives: Toddler tantrums are motivated by one thing your child focuses on. But toddlers can be easily distracted which you should take advantage of! Offer alternatives to your toddler to distract him from what’s upsetting him. Make him participate in the errand for instance. Make it fun! Toddler tantrums can stop as fast as they start.
  •  When the tantrum occurs in a public place and that offering an alternative didn’t work, tell your toddler that it’s either he stops right now or you’ll leave (with him). If he doesn’t stop, take him and leave the place and punish him when you get home (time-out)! Your toddler needs to understand his tantrum has real consequences.

These are effective ways to deal with toddler tantrums. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of positive reinforcement. Praising your toddler’s good behavior will help him understand how better his life is and his relationship with you is when he has a good behavior. Tell him how proud of him you are and feel free to discuss a past tantrum when your toddler is being nice as he’ll be more willing to listen to you and understand that toddler tantrums are not acceptable.


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One Response so far.

  1. Tasha says:

    My daughters tantrums have gotten significantly worse over time, and she’s only 17 months old. I’ve tried ignoring them, in hopes that the lack of attention might help them fizzle out, but instead my daughter has taken to self injury. She literally walks around smashing her head into things. I just recently started putting her into her playpen for a timeout. It seems to be working. She can’t hurt herself in there, and it usually takes about 2 minutes for her to calm down.

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