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5 tips for dealing with a temper tantrum

5 tips for dealing with a temper tantrum
It’s hard to keep your cool when your toddler starts boiling over during a temper tantrum. One minute, they may be sitting happily in the shopping cart, but the next, they're screaming loud enough for everyone in the store (and parking lot) to hear. So where do your little one’s big feelings come from, and what is the best way to handle a tantruming tot?

Facts about fits

Tantrums can start as early as the first year, and, according to the Mayo Clinic, are typically a result of frustration due to toddlers’ inability to effectively express themselves. For a toddler, something as simple as not being able to figure out a task or say the correct word is enough to trigger a tantrum. However, as parents, it’s important to remember this behavior isn’t your child’s way of being “bad.”

Learning to appropriately address your toddler’s meltdowns is the first step toward minimizing the tears and making your days run more smoothly.

  1. Provide structure and consistency: Toddlers thrive on routine.  The more deviation there is from their regular schedule, the more likely they are to react negatively. Because toddlers often struggle with transitions, it’s helpful to keep your days consistent, which will allow Baby to know what to expect next. It will be much easier for them to pick up their toys before their bath if they are used to that being a part of their daily routine.
  2. Plan your day wisely: Wheeling a screaming toddler through the grocery store is basically a parenting rite of passage. Still, keeping Baby’s schedule in mind when you’re planning your day can greatly reduce your chances of dealing with a public tantrum. Planning outings after meals to ensure that they are not hungry, and avoiding heading out just before naptime or bedtime can help you keep the peace, as many meltdowns are simply a result of your toddler being tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. Of course, oftentimes, it’s not that you don’t know that it can be a bad idea to plan big events for certain times in Baby‘s day, it’s just that no one else is scheduling around Baby‘s schedule. Some days, for certain events, you may decide that it’s worth risking a tantrum, but on those days, you’ll also be on the lookout for signs of trouble.
  3. Encourage communication: It can be frustrating for a toddler when their caretaker doesn’t understand their needs, and they doesn’t know how else to communicate them. Maybe she is finished with her meal, wants more juice, or needs help completing a task. If Baby’s vocabulary isn’t very broad just yet, teaching them sign language can help them communicate a little better until their vocabulary catches up with their thoughts and reactions. They'll be able to let you know what is troubling her, which will help cut down on outbursts of anger that come from frustration.
  4. Remain calm: Tantrums aren’t fun for anyone.  Think of how you feel when Baby is angry and crying, then imagine how upsetting it is for them. Remaining calm during Baby’s tantrum can help them calm down, too, while getting upset with them may just escalate the situation.  The last thing Baby wants to think is that the person they rely on the most to help them calm down is losing their cool.  
  5. Remember this, too, shall pass: At this age, Baby is experiencing the need to be independent, and it can be difficult for them when they realize they isn’t completely in control. As Baby gets older and can express themself better, you’ll see that tantrums will happen less frequently. Until then, find a method that works for calming Baby down, and remind yourself that tantrums don’t last forever.

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