Toddler tantrum, in other words unexpected bursts of anger can manifest for a simple “yes” or “no.” These outbursts are completely normal, but they often end up with your baby crying and you get distressed. However, you will quickly come to understand what they hide and learn how to defuse them. And finally, you will have learned how to avoid them completely. Let’s say you’ve decided to go out for a walk, but your baby refuses to leave his play mat or let go of his favorite toy: they are throwing a toddler tantrum! It’s not stress-free to learn how to deal with a toddler tantrum, especially when you are just starting out. But you should know that a toddler tantrum is a natural and useful way to express emotions. Your baby doesn’t yet have the words to tell you what he’s feeling. So, he expresses himself as he can: in the form of crying! A toddler tantrum can be impressive, but it certainly does not have the same connotations as an adult tantrum. It does not express violence, but frustration, and unfulfilled desires. For example, if you take away your baby’s toy when he still wants to continue having fun, if you refuse him a cookie because he has already eaten two, if you leave him in his bed when he wants to move… But now, let’s see how to prevent these negative emotions from evolving into tantrums. Can you also imagine you had twins? Or maybe you already have! Then, you should follow some tips on twins or raising boy and girl twins.
How to Handle a Toddler Tantrum?
These tantrums are a necessary part of your baby’s development. Indeed, it is by experiencing these feelings of frustration and anger that he will learn, little by little, to differentiate between his desires and needs. In short, he needs them to grow up. To manage these types of situations well, avoid diminishing his anger, smothering it or refusing it (by telling him that it’s not a big deal) but try to understand what triggered it in order to relieve his annoyance. The objective is to teach him methods for managing his frustrations by himself. It is necessary to start young because this learning process is relatively long.
Other Types of Toddler Tantrums and Their Causes
Sometimes, toddler tantrums are not just signs of unfulfilled desires, but of real anxiety and distress. Your baby is telling you that he or she needs to be comforted, preferably with big kisses and reassuring words. Around 8 months, you may also experience a new phenomenon. Your baby may cry or throw a tantrum when she leaves your arms or meets a stranger. This is called “the 8-month crying,” and it is related to separation anxiety. Additionally, from about 18 months (sometimes earlier for some children), another type of anger will appear: oppositional anger. This is the famous “no” period. This new stage, too, is normal and even essential: it allows your baby to assert herself as a person against the whole world around her. Stay calm… but avoid playing along!
Other Types of Toddler Tantrum:
- Overtired toddler tantrum
- Toddler tantrum at nap time
- Toddler tantrum after waking up
Your baby’s tantrums can be caused by all the mentioned factors which include fatigue, boredom and hunger. To avoid a toddler tantrum, put your baby to bed at the first yawn, put toys at his disposal and always have something to prepare a bottle of milk for him nearby.
How to Deal with My Baby’s Tantrum?
A baby often has difficulty controlling his emotions and it is up to us, parents, to help him so that he does not feel alone. Certain words are to be banned, certain gestures to be adopted. These are our good, trusty “shields” against his anger. Now, how to control a toddler tantrum?
- “What’s wrong with you?” This is often how we question our baby who gets angry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the words to explain his distress to you. The nature of your voice is then crucial. If he senses concern or annoyance in your voice, he will get even more distressed. Use the adequate words, try to sympathize by talking about his anger in the third person: “Oh, this anger is so annoying! How can we make it go away?” Then your baby will see that you are listening to him. He will know that this overwhelming emotion has a name and that you are there to try to get him out of it. Sometimes, this may be the best way to stop a toddler tantrum.
- Find the right gestures: Even if your baby pushes you away, he needs you in these moments. Alone on his play mat, he will kick, scream, and the tension inside will continue to build. If you help him to reorganize his little internal world by staying by his side, stroking his back, without talking to him, just “singing” by sending “o’s” into the air, lips closed, your baby will understand that he is not abandoned and that you are by his side and the anger will be able to “escape”. This is also a strong contestant on becoming the best way to deal with a toddler tantrum.
- Show a peaceful face: Better than anyone else, your baby can read on your face and understand what you are thinking (anger or worry). To do this, while calming your baby, try looking at a distant point with a serene face. A “Zen attitude” that will avoid the same outcome as a crossing of eyes, which only rekindles his anger.
How to Deal with a Toddler Tantrum?
It’s safe to say that defusing a baby’s temper tantrums will certainly help him or her get rid of a very bad habit. Anger, big or small, does nobody any good!
1. Diverting attention: This is a trick that works almost every time. Divert a toddler’s attention at the very first cry of rage. This is not a lax approach; on the contrary, it is a way to prevent anger from becoming a reflex, at an age when emotions are difficult to control. For example, if he screams every time his yogurt is finished because he wants more, avoid the anger that may follow by making any tonic gesture (“clap clap,” clap your hands, “knock-knock,” drumming your fingers on the table). A similar situation appears when you put him in his stroller. Before he “rears up” by screaming, draw his attention to something he particularly likes (a big truck, the fire department siren, the neighbor’s friendly dog). If your voice is cheerful, the annoyance will give way to the excitement of the new thing.
2. Help them find a good solution: Hungarian pediatrician and educator Emmi Pikler (1902-1984) was at the forefront of helping babies develop their abilities properly. She believed that everything should be explained to babies, including their emotions: “I see that you are not happy.” The words must be simple, the object of the discontent clearly defined, and suggestions made. For example, guide the hand to insert the cube several times in a row and then, if the baby continues to fail to do so on his own, propose another game that he can do on his own. Shouting and anger are not good for learning, no matter how simple!
3. Reinforce rituals: Your baby hates to be disturbed in his play in order to get dressed. To prevent the situation from getting out of hand, a simple ritual will keep him calm during these uninteresting times. Announce to your baby that it is time to change him, insisting on the pleasure he will have while listening to the ritornello of his music box, the one that is used only for this occasion. We know that music can have a calming effect. Do not only apply this information to your life now, it is known that music for pregnancy can also calm your baby in the womb and even after that.To dress him, tickle and name each part of his body while putting on the clothes, or make funny mimics… Making faces or tickling can therefore become a ritual reserved for these moments. Capture the baby’s interest and encourage him to be joyful and attentive. He will start associating the joy of the side event with the main chore from then on.
How to Calm Down a Toddler Tantrum?
When your baby reacts too strongly, staying “Zen” is easier said than done! And yet this behavior is achievable. With the help of a few good soothing tips you may put an end to your suffering from toddler tantrum all day.
1. Face big crises successfully: Which parent doesn’t fear the famous “sobbing spasm?” After crying or screaming, a baby can’t catch his breath, his face changes color and he seems to lose consciousness. That can be most frightening! But then again, there is no risk. After a short apnea (which will seem endless), your baby will expel the air from his lungs reflexively. But there are still things you can do if your baby has a sobbing spasm: press a wet washcloth on his face gently, stroke his back and talk to him calmly. It’s important to stay calm so that once the seizure is over; your baby doesn’t feel that he’s having any negative effects on you.
2. Keeping company after the storm: Any big anger is exhausting. So, when the toddler tantrum is over, it is essential to be there for the baby. When the last of the sobbing has subsided, put the baby’s blanket, pacifier or a bottle of water near him. These will be comforting signals for your baby, encouraging him to gently recover from his emotions.