We’ve all heard about the terrible twos, but are any of us really prepared when they strike? Unless you’ve been blessed with an angel for a toddler, tantrums are an inevitable part of the growing up process. These can be pretty embarrassing when they kick off in public places, but they don’t have to be a constant presence in your family. Follow a few simple tips to try and prevent the frequency of your child’s tantrums.
- Why is it happening? Keep track of your child’s behaviour carefully. Does he tend to break down when hungry or thirsty? Do the tantrums happen when naptime is nearing? Plan ahead to avoid being out without snacks on hand to prevent tummy related tantrums, and stick to a consistent napping and bedtime routine to prevent your little one from becoming overtired.
- Encourage communication. If your child is struggling to express himself, he may turn to screams and tears to try and tell you what he needs. Teach him a few basic sign language signals if his speech isn’t developed yet so he can communicate his needs to you. If he can talk, encourage him to use his words when he starts to get frustrated or angry and be sure you’re listening at all times to pick up on problems before they escalate.
- Encourage the right behaviour. If your child receives the most attention when he’s screaming his lungs out in a grocery store, he may feel this is the best way to grab your focus. Praise him often for good behaviour such as politeness and sharing, and offer love and encouragement frequently every day.
- Distract! If you feel a situation beginning to slip out of your control, make changes quickly. Move your child outside if you’re inside, or vice versa, change the subject or offer toys that might entertain them. Have games on hand such as I Spy that you know your child enjoys playing with you to try and take their mind off of what was brewing. Hopefully by the time a few minutes have passed, the mood will blow over.