How Do I Handle Toddler Temper Tantrums?

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Temper tantrums come with the territory for parents of toddlers. Your child might show signs that he is about to throw a tantrum or suddenly melt down into a massive fit. Understanding what triggers your toddler’s temper tantrums helps avoid or control the fits, no matter how they typically progress. While you might feel your anger or frustration rising with your toddler’s, staying in control helps keep the situation from worsening.

Step 1

Avoid situations that cause your child to throw temper tantrums. For example, if he always throws a fit when you go to the grocery store around nap time, adjust your schedule so you can go when he is well rested.

Step 2

Watch for signs that your toddler is nearing a temper tantrum. Refocus your child’s attention to help avoid a full-blown temper tantrum. Give your toddler a choice of two or three different options to provide some sense of control for her.

Step 3

Acknowledge the feelings of frustration or anger your toddler is feeling. Provide some alternative suggestions for handling those feelings to help avoid a complete meltdown.

Step 4

Move your child away from the trigger if possible. For example, if your toddler throws a fit over a toy at the store, leave the toy area to remove the visual reminder of the trigger.

Step 5

Inspect the area to ensure your child is safe and won’t get hurt if she starts flailing or kicking if you can’t move her away from the situation. This is especially true if you are away from home. Move your child or objects in the environment to prevent injury.

Step 6

Ignore the temper tantrum if you can, or talk to your child in a calm, reassuring voice to help him calm down. Being held might be comforting to some toddlers and allows them to calm down quickly. Avoid reinforcing the temper tantrum by giving him what he wants.

Step 7

Praise your toddler for calming down. This reinforces the calm demeanor when handling frustrating situations.

Step 8

Talk to your child about the temper tantrum as soon as she calms down. Let her know that you won’t listen to temper tantrums, but you will listen to her words. Help her think of a better way to handle the situation next time.

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