The toddler stage is a rough stage for both the child and the parents. Stories about the “terrible twos” abound and continue to scare young parents who have yet to survive their child’s toddler stage. There are reasons why a toddler exhibits a tantrum. When children reach the age of two, they become too concerned with themselves. Everything is about them and their feelings. Every toy, food or fancy object they see belongs to them. Until they are taught how to share and process their feelings, toddlers will remain consumed with thoughts of themselves.
Toddler temper tantrums can have a variety of effects. Parents may feel embarrassed when their child shows unbecoming behavior in public. But being ashamed won’t help the situation. Parents should first seek to understand why their child is behaving in such manner. Worrying about what others may think or say will only add stress to both the child and the parents.
Here are tips on how parents can effectively deal with tantrums:
1. Ignore the tantrum.
This technique works best when dealing with a toddler at home. Never humiliate the child in public places by ignoring them or leaving them unattended. Good behavior in public is learned at home. Ignoring a toddler is not harsh. If your child is throwing fits on the floor screaming for a toy or a cookie, continue to talk without having to deal with the child’s issue. Eventually, he will get the hint and stop screaming.
2. Avoid instant gratification.
In public, toddlers throw tantrums when they do not get what they want. Some parents give in to keep their child quiet and to avoid further embarrassment. Children are spoiled this way, so best to avoid the practice of instant gratification. Simply tell them “no” and keep moving.
3. Don’t get angry.
When you scream, your child is likely to scream too. Getting angry will only put the situation out of control. When you begin to raise your voice, it means you’ve given up rational thinking. Teach your child the values of patience, understanding and rationality. Keep talking in the same calm voice to get your child to calm down as well.
4. Praise your toddler for exhibiting good behavior.
Keep in mind that positive reinforcement is always better than negative. A child usually behaves badly when in need of some positive attention. Clap and praise children when they put away their toys or go to the potty successfully. Smile at them when they say “please” or “thank you.” Be appreciative of all the good behavior that they manifest.
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5. Make sure your toddler gets enough sleep.
Kids get punchy when they get tired. A toddler misbehaves more often if they are dragged around when they are tired. Run errands after nap time to make sure that the child is in good disposition.
6. Carry snacks with you.
Low blood sugar can lead to tantrums. If you are out longer than anticipated and lunch or dinner time is close at hand, let them eat a healthy snack to keep their hunger pains at bay and sugar levels stable.
7. Be consistent in your punishment.
At home, you might use “time out” to deal with a tantrum for bad behavior. In public do the same. Sit your child on a bench for five minutes or take them to the car. Eventually they will learn that you are not a pushover and they will begin to behave.
Parents can survive the toddler years if they take the time to understand and to stretch their patience. Keep in mind that a toddler is undergoing a lot of emotional changes and needs some time to be able to process and accept certain situations.