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!