Having to deal with a toddler’s temper tantrum is never pleasurable and dealing with tantrums in public can be even more distasteful. At some point every parent will have to deal with their toddler throwing a kicking, screaming and floor-thumping temper tantrum. At home this can be frustrating but in public it can be unexpected, angering and embarrassing.
Toddlers aren’t equipped yet with the proper tools to communicate their feelings and emotions. When they are tired, hungry, angry, frustrated and unable to express themselves they may throw a tantrum. This can happen anywhere and at anytime but there are things you can do to both prevent and stop tantrums.
Tips for Dealing with Tantrums in Public
- Prevention is typically preferred and requires consistency in your toddlers life. Don’t let them get too hungry, tired, uncomfortable or over-stimulated. For example; make sure you give your child a nap when he is tired or if there is too much activity he may need a break. If you plan on running errands during typical feeding times you should bring a snack.
- Encourage your child to express their feelings by using words.
- Distract your child’s attention to something else by using humor. This may help you manage the situation as well.
- Reward your child when he requests things without throwing a tantrum in public.
- When dealing with tantrums in public you want to stay calm and not have a tantrum of your own. Model calm and controlled behavior.
- Remove the child from whatever is causing the tantrum by putting them in a “time out”. Give them time to calm down, it may take a few minutes but eventually they will calm.
- For younger children, holding and hugging them until they calm down may be helpful.
- Don’t give in and reward you child for throwing a fit or else they may learn tantrums are an effective way of getting what they want.
- Older children may resort to tantrums to get attention. Try ignoring them until the tantrum is over.
Children will eventually grow out of temper tantrums. Until then talk to your child afterwards about acceptable behavior. Help your child identify their feeling with words. Remaining calm during these trying times provides your child with a great role model.
Ah, the sounds of a screaming 2 year old, often accompanied by throwing themselves on the ground, or hurling a toy across the room. Welcome to tantrums! Lack of communication skills is the main reason toddlers throw tantrums. Around the two year mark, most toddlers understand more words and phrases then they can actually say. This leads to enormous frustration when trying to communicate with you. Most parents will see this manifest when their child is saying something that they can’t understand. We tend to say “yes, uh huh,” and then move on with what we’re doing. Meanwhile, the child sees that what they’re asking for, or simply pointing out, is not being acknowledged and their frustration peaks, ending in a tantrum.
Tips For Raising Toddlers/Getting Through Tantrums
Ask Questions: “Are you asking for your juice bottle?” or, if your child is pointing at a toy, ask “do you want me to play with you?” Often, you can avoid a tantrum if you take the time to figure out what they want.
Name Their Feelings: You just told your toddler “No” and a tantrum ensues. Help them learn how to express their feelings properly by saying, “I realize you’re feeling frustrated” or “It’s ok to be angry.” By naming their feelings, you teach your child how to properly handle situations that cause frustration. You are also acknowledging their feelings, not just being the “mean guy.”
Sleep: Overtired children throw tantrums more often than well- rested children. If your child still requires a daily nap, don’t deny them the need for sleep in order to make your life easier. Make, and stick to, a nightly routine, allowing your toddler a minimum of 12 hours of restful sleep.
If all else fails, and you find yourself struggling on a daily basis, ask for help. Check with your child’s pediatrician for a referral to a local parent’s group. These groups will be full of parents with helpful tips for raising toddlers! Finally, don’t deny yourself some time alone. Hire a babysitter and get away every once in awhile. You deserve a break!
Trying to stop temper tantrum behaviors can be one of the most stressful experiences for a parent. Without putting a stop to them, however, the child usually learns to use these terrible outbursts to get attention, to rebel, to try to exert control and power, or for numerous other reasons. So parents need to come to grips with the phenomenon of tantrums before they become held hostage to them – which only adds more stress and strain to the situation.
But in order to stop temper tantrum outbursts it is important to first understand that most tantrums are not triggered by just one single event or episode. What is generally more typical is that the child who throws a tantrum does so after a long accumulation of frustrations. These remain pent-up inside until eventually the child lets loose and expresses it in an uncontrollable fashion. So rather than trying to trace the tantrum to something that just happened, it is often more effective to just realize that the tantrum is the tip of the iceberg or a symptom of frustration and feelings that have been building up for some time.
Here are some ways to minimize that build-up, and therefore help to stop the tantrums from happening:
- Make sure children have enough rest, are well fed and not hungry, and did not accidentally skip their nap because many tantrums result from those simple things.
- At the first signs that the child is getting irritable, consider what to do to make the child feel better. That may nip the tantrum in the bud before it has a chance to escalate.
- Minimize stressful environments, because when kids are exposed to too much stress they can become overwhelmed – just like grown-ups do.
- Be attentive, let the child know you are there for them, and make sure they know that you are listening to their concerns. Sometimes if a child feels ignored he or she will throw a tantrum as a last resort to get heard.
Once the parent succeeds with changing the toddler’s behavior or effectively controlling these emotional triggers to stop temper tantrums, both the parent and the child feel better. But don’t wait until it is too late to implement these suggestions, because to stop tantrums the source of the tantrums has to be addressed in advance, and on a day to day basis.