While tantrums are enough to make every parent crazy, they are a standard in childhood development. Some children throw tantrums more frequently than others, but the behavior is common in children ages 1 to 3 years old. Many children experience these meltdowns when they are not able to fully convey their hunger, frustration or dissatisfaction.
It can be difficult to turn your head away from the meltdown in floor or stop it, but there are times when you can’t ignore the behavior. If your child is too close to running into the street or is at risk for harm, hold your child tightly and clearly explain the risk. For children who are hitting and biting, immediately stop the behavior, move them away from the situation and take away a privilege.
Tantrums will not go away completely, but they can improve with age. Here are a few ways to help survive the toddler meltdowns.
- Give your child attention and praise for his or her good behavior. When you say no, stick to it. Changing your mind and giving in signifies that tantrums will give your child what they want.
- Pick your battles and ignore the small things. Be consistent in your responses to a tantrum. This will teach them that you do not condone this behavior and this does not achieve anything positive.
- Though it can be easier said than done, remain firm and calm. Losing your cool will only escalate the situation.
- Be aware of the stressors than cause the meltdowns and do your best to avoid them.
- Something as small as a distraction can remedy a meltdown. Redirecting their interest can help resolve the situation.
- As long as they are safe, consider walking away from the situation. This gives you both the opportunity to calm down before talking.
- Respect your child’s limits and remember some days are more difficult than others.
- Have a zero tolerance policy for hitting, kicking, biting or throwing.
Parenting is tough and tantrums are frustrating and embarrassing, but at the end of the day it is important to remember that these meltdowns are a normal occurrence during the toddler years.