How to Deal with Toddler Tantrums
You’ve read all the books on positive child-rearing practices and have everything under control. Even though you’ve been fore-warned that your adorable, well-behaved baby may begin to throw tantrums once they reach their Terrible-Two’s, you tell yourself that it won’t happen.
“Not my baby,” you exclaim to well-meaning friends and family.
And then it happens . .Your precious toddler throws a spaghetti-filled bowl across the kitchen, and then begins to wail.
Do you remember what you read about how to deal with toddler tantrums? Do you remember what your well-meaning friends and family said? Probably not.
This behavior could be a sign that your toddler is a picky-eater. Or there may be something else going on with them. First of all, it’s important to model positive behavior and not throw a tantrum along with them. This is also an opportunity for you to practice–and teach–patience, as it may not be first (or even the last) time they throw a tantrum. Even though you want your child to be “well-behaved,” temper tantrums are normal at this age.
Did you check their temperature? It could also be that your toddler is coming down with a cold or flu. Is their throat red or raw? Your toddler may have tossed that spaghetti-filled bowl because they’re really hungry but it hurts too much to eat. In this case, you may need to bundle them up and take them to their pediatrician.
When it comes to how to deal with toddler tantrums at nap time, it’s important to speak softly and gently. If they usually go down for a nap without throwing a tantrum, there may be a reason they are this time. Were you having fun? If so, you can tell them they can play again later. Sometimes, this is all it will take–especially if you suggest one of their favorite activities such as story time.
What if it’s bedtime, and your toddler shakes their head, the dreaded word, “No!” right behind?
It’s possible your toddler had a busy day and is even more tired than usual. Creating structure by being consistent with bedtime is important. Even though they might not always like this structure, having a regular routine is important.
It’s not unusual for a toddler to throw a tantrum because they’re frustrated and don’t have the words to tell you what they’re feeling or what they need or want–so ask them! Your toddler may surprise you with their response. You’re also increasing their language skills when you help them learn new words and label their feelings.
And yes, you would also tell them not to throw that bowl. A simple, “throwing bowls may hurt someone” or “dumping spaghetti on the floor makes a big mess for mommy and daddy to clean up,” will usually suffice.
Once they’ve calmed down, you may want to put them in “time out,” which can be effective for some toddlers. Others may not understand the concept, so you could say something like, “you need to sit on this chair and think about what mommy said about not throwing bowls of food.”
When looking for ways to deal with a toddler who is a picky eater, you want to ensure they’re receiving the nutrients they need to develop. There are so many healthy foods for picky kids, so it’s just a matter of finding which ones they like. If the foods they currently prefer are actually healthy, then is it really an issue? You could also look for a fun cookbook that has healthy food for picky toddlers. If you’re still concerned, ask your pediatrician about vitamin supplements.
Another way to learn how to deal with toddler tantrums is to remember how you felt when they were first born. Just because they’re two doesn’t mean you stop bonding. . .
When learning how to deal with toddler tantrums–screaming or otherwise–it’s important to remember this terrible twos behavior may be short-lived. Your toddler needs to feel safe and loved, and that their needs will be met. While they may not be able to express this yet, as their vocabulary develops, and you continue to model positive behaviors within an environment of love, these tantrums will usually pass.
What happens then? You’ll have the opportunity to teach other parents how to deal with toddler tantrums.