4 Dos & Don’ts When Dealing with Toddler Temper Tantrums | Merry Maids®
Have you ever tried getting simple household chores completed or grocery shopped only to be met with a barrage of screams from your little one? Yep. You’re in the midst of a toddler temper tantrum. Not only are they embarrassing to have to deal in public, but they can make you question your overall parenting tactics.
Parents around the world have been dealing with toddler temper tantrums since the dawn of time. Fortunately, since then, there have been techniques and methods developed for quelling these emotional outbursts. And while our team at Merry Maids® is made up of cleaning experts, we’re also parents and grandparents with some tips and tricks for calmly handling a tantrum in progress.
Why Do Kids Have Temper Tantrums?
Just think about when someone disagrees with you on something or rejects your request. How does that make you feel? Probably not so great. You’ve found ways of coping with this frustration and constructively expressing yourself as an adult. However, for children under the age of 4, the vocabulary to communicate their frustration adequately may not be there just yet. As a result, you get an uncontrollable triggered response.
According to a 2020 study, researchers have found that tantrums:
Occur in 87% of 18 to 24-month-olds
Occur in 91% of 30 to 36-month-olds
Occur in 59% of 42 to 48-month-olds
The good news is after your child hits the 3-and-a-half-year-old age mark, they’re better able to use their words to tell you what they need. In addition, tantrums will be less frequent, with 10% of 4 year olds experiencing them.
Remember, what works best for other children may not work for yours, and don’t doubt your parenting skills. Instead, trust your instincts and consult with your health professional if you have questions or concerns.
The Dos of Toddler Temper Tantrums
1. Be Proactive and Plan Ahead
You know your child’s mood best and can sometimes gauge when a temper tantrum is about to happen. These are the times when you need to be most proactive (not reactive) and plan in advance. For example, avoid venturing out to run errands with your child if they are tired or hungry. This scenario will likely lead to a temper tantrum before you’ve even made it out the door. If you can’t avoid taking your child out during a scheduled nap or when they’re not in a good mood, keep snacks and their favorite toy on hand. You can help offset or reduce the duration of a temper tantrum by simply being proactive and planning ahead of time.
2. Be Consistent
Routines are always a sure-fire way to quell temper tantrums. For instance, having a sleep schedule can help your child get used to sleeping at a certain time without much fuss. The same idea applies when it comes to temper tantrums. You can create a daily routine, so your child isn’t surprised by activities and avoid provoking a tantrum.
3. Avoid Triggering Situations
Avoiding triggering situations can be difficult if you’re unsure what caused the outburst in the first place. However, there are some circumstances where pinpointing the tantrum catalyst is easy. For example, if your child asks for a toy or candy at the store and you say, “no,” that will likely cause a temper tantrum. The best thing you can do is avoid the candy or snack aisle at the store, so there’s a low chance that you have to interject and set off a tidal wave of tears.
4. Give Your Child a Sense of Control
Everyone wants to feel like they have control over certain events, even if that’s not entirely true. As your child grows older, it’s important to help them cultivate a sense of control so they understand that they have choices. Avoid the tendency to say no too often. Instead, offer your child “controlled choices,” which means you give them a choice between options you’ve presented. The Mayo Clinic suggests offering your child two to three options. For example, ask them if they want apples or bananas as a snack, rather than asking, “what do you want to eat?” Presenting limited selections can significantly reduce the number of tantrums daily, if that’s one of their tantrum triggers.
The Don’ts of Toddler Temper Tantrums
1. Don’t Play the Blame Game
When your child is in the midst of a tantrum, it can be easy to point the finger at your parenting partner or even your little one. However, there’s no need to play the blame game because it won’t help de-escalate the situation. The best thing you can do is stay calm and not overreact during what feels like chaos.
2. Don’t Cave to Stop a Tantrum in Progress
One of the worst things you can do when trying to avoid a temper tantrum is to give your child what they want after you’ve already said no. Children are very intelligent and pick up on patterns. If they see that they can get what they want by throwing a tantrum, you can bet the number of instances will increase significantly. Stay firm with your child to help send the message that no means no.
3. Don’t Try to Address Your Child During a Tantrum
This might be a tough one to put into practice, but it’s extremely important to avoid addressing your child or stopping an emotional outburst. Pediatrician Svetlana Pomeranets, MD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Solon Family Health Center says trying to interfere with a tantrum in progress could make it worse. Don’t try to discuss your child’s feelings or have a lengthy conversation with them about what’s happening. Instead, redirect their attention either verbally or physically so they can focus on something else.
4. Don’t Think You’re in This Alone
Few would argue that parenting is hard, and it’s easy to feel like you’re the only parent experiencing these challenging situations. The truth is every person raising children deals with the ups and downs of parenthood, and there’s likely someone who is going through exactly what you are. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure how to handle exceptionally difficult tantrums, seek assistance from your pediatrician or family or a parenting support group.
Let our team at Merry Maids® give you more time to spend with your children so you can put these tips into practice.