How to Handle Toddler Tantrums
Tantrums: thereâ€™s no escaping them. As a parent, all you can do is try to find the best possible way to deal when your little one rages against the machine (which, unfortunately in this case, is you). So, as the mom of a toddler, I was happy to read â€“ and re-read â€“ this great advice that Megan posted in the Moms of 2-Year-Olds group:
â€śI look at tantrums as an opportunity for my son to learn how to manage his emotions while also staying safe and following directions. We use choices, choices, choices. We just make sure that all of the choices we offer have a desirable result.
For instance, in our stroller conflict (which right now is our carseat conflict), weâ€™d get down to his eye level and in a calm voice (even if he is screaming) say, â€śMax, do you want to buckle yourself in the stroller or do you want mommy/daddy to do it for you?â€ť We usually give him a 5 count to answer, and if he continues throwing a tantrum, ask him calmly one more time. Nine times out of 10, heâ€™ll make a choice. Those times that he continues throwing a fit, weâ€™ll say, â€śOkay, it looks like you are upset and donâ€™t want to make a choice right now. I am going to buckle you in.â€ť
By getting down to his level we are showing him that we are not being authoritative, but want to talk to him. By staying calm we show him that his tantrum will not get us riled up. By giving him two options that will end with him buckled in the stroller (carseat) we get what we want, which is to keep him safe, and he gets the control that he is throwing a fit over. And for those times when he continues to throw a tantrum, we will take the reigns and show him that sometimes he just needs to do what mommy and daddy say :)â€ť
Katie Quirk Dunyon is a mom of two, a boy and a girl. She lives and writes in Seattle, WA.