Most toddlers throw tantrums at some point in their development. Tantrums are the result of your toddler not being able to control their emotions. Toddlers frequently have tantrums because they are tired, hungry, or are unable to express frustration. Parents can often avoid tantrums by making sure their children get sufficient rest and having an eating routine that makes sure hunger is not an issue. However, when tantrums do occur, use one of these five tantrum tricks every parent should have up their sleeve to redirect your child.

Tantrum Child

#1 Hug It Out

Especially effective for the younger toddler, when the tantrum begins, simple hold your child in your arms and provide comfort. Speak calmly or sing quietly, waiting for the tantrum to end. You may find that your child begins coming to you for comfort whenever they feel a tantrum beginning.

#2 Use a Distraction

When a child has a tantrum, their concentration is on themselves and what they want, how they feel, or what has upset them. Using a distraction can shift their attention and cease the tantrum. Each child is different and you will need to learn which distraction works best for your child. Try one of the following:

  • Be silly. Tantrums and laughter do not coexist.
  • Sing a song, especially one that your toddler loves.
  • Give your toddler something else to think about. Ask a question or suggest an enjoyable activity.

#3 Ignore the Tantrum

Although this may sound difficult, it becomes easier in time. When your child throws a tantrum, they are asking for attention. Frequently, the ignored tantrum ceases. Try the following:

  • Keep doing whatever you are doing when the tantrum starts.
  • Move away from your toddler, but stay where your child can see you, especially if your toddler is very young.
  • Do not communicate with your tantrum throwing toddler and, if you do, keep a calm tone.

#4 Time Out

For the older toddler throwing a tantrum, try removing them from the situation and enforcing a timeout. Put your child in a boring place, such as a chair in the middle of the kitchen. Tell your child they can leave timeout when they calm down. Alternatively, set a timer for a specific number of minutes. The time required for a child to settle down in time out varies, so choose whatever amount of time works for your toddler.

While your child is in timeout, avoid conversation. However, when timeout is over, discuss with your child why they were in timeout and why their behavior was inappropriate.

#5 Breathing

For many toddlers, tantrums are learned behavior. They observe another toddler pitching a fit and want the attention they perceive such behavior brings. If this is the case with your toddler, try giving them a different and more effective coping strategy – breathing. When your child begins to show signs of being upset, tell them, “Take some deep breathes.”

If the tantrum is occurring at home, consider having your toddler either blow up a balloon or blow bubbles. This not only encourages breathing, but also distracts your toddler.

Make sure you discuss with your toddler appropriate ways for expressing themselves when they are calm and happy. Fortunately, most toddlers outgrow tantrums before the age of four. If you child continues having problems controlling their temper, a visit to your pediatrician will help you determine if intervention is necessary. In the meantime, our five tantrum tricks every parent should have up their sleeve will help both you and your toddler get through those tantrum times.

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