Helping Toddlers Manage Tantrums

by | Mar 26, 2023

Tantrums are a normal part of toddlerhood, but they can be challenging for parents and caregivers to manage. If you’re a parent or caregiver of a toddler who’s prone to tantrums, you’re not alone. In fact, tantrums are one of the most common reasons why parents seek therapy for their young children.

Understanding Tantrums:

Before we dive into tips for managing tantrums, it’s important to understand what tantrums are and why they happen. Tantrums are “an emotional outburst that occurs when a child is overwhelmed by their feelings and cannot cope.” Toddlers are still learning how to regulate their emotions, so it’s not surprising that they sometimes get overwhelmed and have tantrums. Tantrums can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as hunger, fatigue, overstimulation, or frustration. Understanding what triggers your toddler’s tantrums can help you prevent them from happening in the first place.

Tips for Managing Tantrums:

  1. Stay Calm: When your toddler is having a tantrum, it’s important to stay calm. This can be difficult when your child is screaming and crying, but getting upset yourself will only escalate the situation. Take a few deep breaths and try to remain as calm as possible.
  2. Validate Feelings: Let your toddler know that you understand their feelings. You can say something like, “I know you’re feeling frustrated right now.” This helps your toddler feel heard and understood, which can help diffuse the situation.
  3. Set Limits: While it’s important to validate your toddler’s feelings, it’s also important to set limits on their behavior. Let your toddler know what behavior is not acceptable, such as hitting or throwing things. You can say something like, “I understand you’re angry, but hitting is not okay. Let’s find another way to express your feelings.”
  4. Distract and Redirect: Sometimes, distracting your toddler can help them calm down. You can try offering a toy or activity that they enjoy, or suggesting a change of scenery. Redirecting your toddler’s attention can also be helpful, such as asking them to help you with a task.
  5. Teach Coping Skills: Ace Counseling Group recommends teaching your toddler coping skills, such as taking deep breaths, counting to ten, or using a calm-down jar. Practice these skills with your toddler when they’re calm, so they’re more likely to use them when they’re upset.

Tantrums can be challenging

Tantrums can be challenging for parents and caregivers to manage, but with these tips from child therapists, you can help your toddler learn to regulate their emotions and manage their behavior. Remember to stay calm, validate your toddler’s feelings, set limits, distract and redirect, and teach coping skills. With patience and practice, you can help your toddler become more resilient and better able to cope with their emotions.