Toddlers are some of the absolute cutest years where you just want to hug them they are so cute. I think this is nature’s ways of balancing out for the fact that most parents have to deal with the temper tantrums toddlers can throw! Today, I am pleased to have author, Ruth Lambert, share with us some great advice on how to handle toddler tantrums and avoid temper tantrums when possible.
Ruth Lambert has released a new book called 101 Survival Tactics for New and Used Parents. This super practical and down to earth parenting manual offers useful advice that many parents wish they had known. Instead of a didactic parenting philosophy, it is a how to book filled with tips to help manage day-to-day parenting challenges with intelligence, patience and kindness.
Oh The Temper Tantrums Toddlers Can Throw!– The Bane of Parents
by Ruth Lambert
The toddler is lying on the floor, flailing her arms and legs. Sobbing piteously, she punctuates her floods of tears with chirps and hoots of anger and dismay, screaming like a howler monkey. “It’s just a tantrum,” say the onlookers, in sympathy (or annoyance).
Temper tantrums in toddlers can be the undoing of many a practiced, patient, savvy parent. Most occur in a public setting; I’ve witnessed some humdingers on a crowded airplane headed to Disney. Yikes! Having to handle toddler tantrums is no piece of cake.
Many of those airplane temper tantrums toddlers throw can be due to ear pressure, which does not equalize easily or well in very small ears. Be prepared! Be sure to have something for the child to suck on, whether a breast (if breast feeding), a bottle, or a safety lollypop. Sucking can help release the trapped air that cause the agony of airplane ears. Do this in advance, before the airplane takes off, and at least 10 minutes before landing. Older children can chew gum or suck on lifesavers.
How To Handle Toddler Tantrums
Ultimately, the best cure for dealing with temper tantrums is prevention so that you can avoid having to handle toddler tantrums. Feeding our daughter candy or other high sugar sweets at 4pm guaranteed a full meltdown/tantrum by 6 o’clock. We usually ate dinner as a family, between 6:15 ad 6:30 – a bit late for most children after a long day at school and sports. Thus, we quickly learned the importance of a nutritious after school snack that would tide her over. In Tip#33, in my book 101 Survival Tactics for New and Used Parents, I suggest preparing snacks carefully.
Tip #54, entitled “The Arsenic Hour,” notes how treacherous low blood sugar can be! Provide a healthy snack for your kids including milk and graham crackers, or peanut butter with banana chunks, or 1/2 an apple with a slice of cheese or cheese stick to head off a severe blood sugar plunge…and a tantrum.
The Magic Words “What would make it okay?” from Tip #67, may help handle toddler tantrums if the child isn’t too far gone — but once the howling starts, give up all hope.
A screaming child can’t hear your words of comfort; make it a practice to whisper in his ear (no hissing of disapproval permitted!). “It’s okay, sweetie,” and “we will fix this”, said in a very calm voice, just may get through the clamor. Or not.
Preventing a melt down requires forethought, and smart family rules.
Tip #60 How to Count Kids explains that birthdays and holiday celebrations can be totally overwhelming for a really young child. Hence, the rule “age plus 1” — for all birthdays up to age 9.
Our 2 year old had 3 kids at his birthday; the 7 year old had her 8 closest friends over for cupcakes, served with milk or water, not soda. Presents can also be overwhelming; then, they need to be rationed. When a small child has 15 gifts to unwrap, they can lose their bearings — and their equilibrium. We allowed the 3 year olds to open 4 gifts at one sitting, but the rest were put away, to be given to him every other day over the next two weeks.
Some tantrums simply cannot be avoided. Sometimes you just have to handle toddler tantrums. When my 3 year old daughter decided she had to have a $129 First Communion dress —and we are Jewish! — I said kindly but firmly: “I know those dresses are very pretty, but we aren’t buying one today.” One minute later, there she was, on the floor of Macy’s in classic tantrum pose, flailing all her limbs. I stood my ground, repeating softly but firmly: “I know you are angry and disappointed, sweetie. And I am sorry.”
We were surrounded by a few people watching the performance (it was EPIC), but my composure and quiet reiterations finally got through. With a huge sigh, she got up, put her arms around my knees and sagged into me. We abandoned shopping for a snack shop hit of milk and 2 small cookies.
The recovery from a tantrum feels like a small victory for both parent and child. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Dealing with a few toddler tantrums is part of parenting. It doesn’t mean you are failing but your response is important. Toddlers are dealing with big feelings and trying to express those feelings the only way they know how. It helps to teach toddlers to express things with their words when possible. In this way, you can help them learn how to work out a solution. I hope you find these tips, tricks, and advise useful to avoiding temper tantrums toddlers can throw. I also help this helps you to handle toddler tantrums that can’t be avoided are just bound to happen on occasion. Has you child thrown a real humdinger of a tantrum? How did you handle it?