Toddler Tantrums - We're Having Fun Now!
Why do toddlers have tantrums? How do we deal with it? Most importantly, what is a tantrum? Toddler tantrums can range from crying, wailing, screaming, hitting, biting, to defiance and resisting attempts at pacification. For most parents, bailing out is not an option. During these outbursts, it is always important for a parent to remain calm.
What Do Tantrums Mean?
Child tantrums are quite common especially from ages 1 to 3 years old. There are a variety of reasons for child tantrums. For baby tantrums it might be because the baby is hungry and wants to be fed. Toddler tantrums can be triggered by something that he is afraid of. A preschooler can throw tantrums because he is tired or frustrated. One common cause of many preschooler tantrums is being denied something that he wanted.
Two year-olds are notorious for temper tantrums. This phase of a toddler's life is known as the terrible twos. The thing to remember during a temper tantrum is that there is a reason why your kid is having a screaming fit. Children at this age have limited communication skills. They have a small vocabulary and thus have a limited way of expressing themselves. Tantrums can be a manifestation of their frustration due to their inability to clearly tell you what they want or mean. Tantrums have different meanings but it usually comes down to frustration.
Temper tantrums from your child can be embarrassing especially if you are in a public setting. This is why correcting this behavior at an early age can be beneficial not only to you but to your child as well. Controlling tantrums can teach your child about self control and restraint.
Discipline is a tricky subject among parents. The methods of discipline are a personal choice. Nevertheless, it is an integral part of childhood development that needs to be enforced in order to have a well-balanced child.
Dealing With A Tantrum
Picture this. You are trying to navigate through unfamiliar roads using a map. After hours of driving and carefully following directions you are still nowhere near your destination. You are tired, angry and frustrated. You stop the car, throw away the map, curse and bang the steering wheel. This is an adult version of a temper tantrum. Just like adults, kids need to vent their anger and frustration and this sometimes results in a tantrum.
As parents, you should know what triggers a temper tantrum in your child. So the first thing to do during one of his temper tantrums is to listen to him. Remember that your child is trying to tell you something. If he is still inarticulate, then investigate what happened to trigger this sort of behavior. Did he want to go out but was told not to? Is he bored with his toddler toys and wants new ones? Is he tired and hungry from preschool class activities? Comfort your child. Be firm but let him know that you are doing your best to accommodate his needs as well. Reward his positive responses when trying to calm him down.
Some kids throw tantrums in order to gain attention. One of the quickest ways of dealing with this is to ignore your child. It can become pretty hard especially if they're screaming your ears off, but try not to let it bother you. Kids usually stop throwing a fit when they see that they're being ignored. Let them know that only good behavior is rewarded.
Kids need to learn that nothing positive can come out of throwing tantrums. Pacify them but only when they want to be pacified. Giving them too much attention will only make them want to do it more often.
Once you know what trigger these outbursts, you can plan ahead and avoid it. You can change their routine in order to get rid of boredom. Plan for a longer nap to energize him. Schedule for some play time outside when the conditions are right. Knowing these triggers can help avoid future temper tantrum displays.
No matter what you do, your child will still throw tantrums from time to time. So be realistic and accept that tantrums can happen no matter what you do. Once you have accepted this fact of parenthood, it will be easier for you to remain calm and cope with it.
Lastly, talk to your child. Once he is calm enough, you can talk to him to make him understand that tantrums are not good. Tell him that feelings and emotions can be vented in a less destructive manner. He won't immediately get it. In time, the repeated reinforcement of these talks will be ingrained in his mind. Talking will also strengthen your relationship as parent and child.
If your child's temper tantrums persist, know that this is a passing phase in his life. As he gets older and gains more control and understanding, this sort of negative behavior will subside. Remember with kids that a lot of preparation, understanding and patience will go a long way.