Dealing with your toddler’s tantrums

Riya and Shashank were having breakfast when Riya suddenly fretted over Shashank’s constant questions. ‘Enough of questions! Stop behaving like Lehaan’; she got irritated and said. There was a sudden silence. They looked at each other, Riya turned around to look at Lehaan who was happily playing with his rock-a-stack  and she couldn’t control her tears. Shashank held her tightly and calmed her down. He explained to Riya that getting exhausted with a growing toddler’s tantrums is normal and perfectly alright. Parents are supposed to be real, not perfect.

There are numerous times when you would get frustrated by your little one’s actions. But after this quick read, we are sure you would know exactly how to respond when your kid throws an unpredictable (or predictable) tantrum.

What to do?

  1. Make sure the baby isn’t hungry

Imagine you are at the supermarket when your kid looks at a bright pack of cookies which you know isn’t the best for her but alas, she has already spotted it. Is it this moment when your face turns pink and you want to exit the mart as soon as possible. Because you feel that’s the best way to avoid a tantrum which is on its way.

Here is the resolve : Bring a box of her favourite porridge or a pack of raisins to satiate her hunger. The little kid has no idea how to behave in public, she seems attracted to the popping colors and getting a bright pack filled with raisins might make her as happy.

  1. Pay Attention, note the pattern and learn

Does your kid freak out at the supermart’s billing line? Does he not stop crying while getting dressed? Does she get annoyed while making her eat banana cake?

Here is the resolve: If you notice a certain behaviour in specific situations; note those situations and find a method to avoid that sort of breakdown.

For example; you can keep talking to the kid while in the billing lane and count the number of items along with her. 

If getting dressed is a process that makes the child cry, get him to choose between a green or a yellow t-shirt. Share a little story about what’s written/drawn on the t-shirt

  1. Be a little easy

It’s okay if you want your baby to always have the celebrity look but going out in his choice a blue polka t-shirt paired with red pyjamas is super cool too. Let him wear what makes him happy and comfortable. After all there is a whole life out there to make them aware of the best fashion practices.

  1. Gather Yourself – Do not lose control

Parenting is hard and with your little ones newer – than – ever tantrums it becomes one hell of a ride. One thing that makes it tough for parents is that they wish to be perfect at being parents. And missing out even slightly on the perfection bit makes them lose calm.

How can you maintain sanity while the kid keeps throwing a seemingly uncontrollable fit?

  • Take a few deep breaths. 

One tip that we have been given countless times and have actually followed only a few numbers of times. Inhale, Exhale! And try to make yourself as calm as you want the baby to be. This will bring in a certain amount of patience that is required to deal with an ongoing tantrum.

  • Repeat your cool down mantra.

Has there been one inspirational phase that you say to yourself in times of crisis. Maybe you used to say ‘I can handle this well’ while going for a meeting with the boss’s boss. Just use that very statement to gain strength at this moment as well

  • Watch the clock

According to Michael Potegal’s research , a kid’s tantrum last for an average of 5 minutes or less. Add 10 minutes to this. Maybe 5 more minutes. And if you are able to stay calm and act the right way in these 15 – 20 minutes, you have passed the worst part of the tantrum already.

  • Is that anything that can divert your kid’s attention?

Try diverting the kid’s attention from what made him throw a fit. You can simply place a glittery calm down jar beside him. When he shakes the jar and watches the glitter moving, his attention might go to that visual rather than the tantrum. 

  1. Hear them out

Acknowledging goes a long way in handling tantrums. We should accept we all need this. To be heard! An emotion’s validation plays a vital role in calming the situation down. Simply listening to them and not giving in but affirming with a statement like ‘You are upset. And you expressed how much you wanted that Snickers bar’. 

  1. Talk about it, again, if necessary

As a parent, we majorly know what’s right for the kid and what’s not. We do everything for their best and we also understand that they are too young to understand logic. But there might come some situations when the tantrum is over but you feel you need to make them understand what not to do and behave well the next time. It does not have to be a serious session. It has to be a conversation that resonates with the child’s behaviour.

What NOT to do?

  1. Do not give in to ‘wrong’ demands

Your kid has just had one snack bar and is now being stubborn for a new one. If you give it, you would surely escape the tantrum this time but this makes the kid learn that the next time they need something they just have to go berserk. But only when you do not give in they understand that throwing a fit won’t help them.

  1. Do not penalize

The way you would feel bad about your friend leaving the room when you were sharing your sorrows with her is exactly how your toddler would feel if punished for expressing what they are feeling. The little kid is still learning to express their emotions. They do not exactly know how to. They are not expecting punishment or irritation, they just want to be heard like we all do. Your responses will shape a lot of their actions.

  1. Do not explain logic

Making your kid understand the logic behind what you are saying is the last thing to do. Your toddler is too young to reason with, that will only make their tantrum more intense which would last longer than the earlier ones.

Dealing with a toddler’s tantrums might not seem an exciting part of parenting but it is an important one. What they go through today, our responses towards those, and their learnings from the experiences significantly shape them for the future. We wish you the best to excel and be a super parent the next time you have an unprecedented tantrum in hand.