Here are some notes from a class I taught to moms in Hanoi. It is a good quick review of Temper Tantrums—Why and What Helps. Each child and each tantrum is a bit different. But there is some general information that will reduce the number and intensity of the tantrums.
Causes of Temper Tantrums:
- 9 months to 2 1/2 years – inability to communicate their needs is the most common cause.
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years- power struggles with adults is the most common cause.
- Toddlers are easily overwhelmed leading to tantrums.
- Toddlers want to do more than they are capable of doing.
- Toddlers do not understand delayed gratification.
- Toddlers think they are the center of the universe and everyone should do as they want.
Preventing Temper Tantrums:
- Keep predictable routines. Toddlers love to know what to expect next.
- Have reasonable expectations for your toddler. Know what he is capable of doing.
- When you see your child beginning to get frustrated, change tactics before meltdowns start.
- Avoid known temper tantrum triggers
- Offer two choices, but ONLY two. They feel like they have more control when they get choices. But you like what they choose because they are both things you want for them.
- Give enough warning before coming changes. Some children need more lead time than others.
- Teach baby sign language to use at least until they learn to speak
- Give more frequent, smaller meals to keep blood sugar and moods level.
- For older toddlers begin saying yes first, then the limitation (yes you can ______, but first you must _____.)
Defusing Temper Tantrums:
- Distract them. This works best with younger toddlers.
- Act Silly – if you can get them to laugh, they may forget what upset them.
- Ignore it and go on with that you were doing. If it was just for attention, that will reduce the number and length of tantrums
- Bear hug- holding them until they are calmed down. They feel secure and loved even though frustrated.
- Remove them from the scene until they calm down.
- Acknowledge the child was frustrated and demonstrate a better way.
- Keep your voice soft and stay as calm as possible. As you get agitated, your child gets more upset.
If you have some techniques that have worked well for you and your child, why not share them with others. Email me and I’ll add them to the site for others.