John Brandon

April 18, 2017 on

While you may love being a parent most of the time, parenting can be difficult at times. One of those times is when your toddler starts throwing a temper tantrum. Unfortunately, most temper tantrums seem to happen at the most inconvenient times or places. Maybe you are running late for work, or you are at the store, ready for a large shopping expedition. While toddler temper tantrums can be stressful and at times embarrassing, there are several things you can do to better deal with a toddler who is throwing a fit.

Remain Calm and Talk It Through

While it is not always easy, one of the most important things to do is to remember to remain calm. Fighting your child's tantrum by yelling and in a sense throwing an adult temper tantrum is not going to help the situation. While it is not always possible, if you can catch the temper tantrum early enough, you may be able to talk it through.

Often, younger children get angry because people do not understand what they need or want. Find out what is bothering your child. If needed, have the child point to the problem. When appropriate, resolve the issue. Even when the problem cannot be resolved, continue to use a calm voice.  

Distract the Child

Sometimes you can distract a child, especially if you catch things before it turns into a full meltdown. As you see those tears starting to well-up in the child's eyes, make a silly face or say something to make the child laugh. Even little toys, books, or other items can act as a distraction for a child about to have a tantrum. This works well when you are running errands, and the child gets bored. 

You could even distract the child by suggesting he or she helps you. For example, if you are at the store, ask the child to help you find a specific item, or ask the child to help you decide between two brands of apples or pick a flavor of ice cream. It helps to sound excited about the child helping you. Ideally, distracting the child from why he or she was going to cry will prevent a meltdown.  

Ignore It/Give the Child Space

While ignoring the situation is often difficult, sometimes it is also the best option. The child wants a reaction, and if you do not react, the child is less likely to continue to engage in tantrums to try to get his or her way. For example, if the kid is throwing a fit in the living room, make sure there is nothing in the area that could hurt the child, and go to another part of the room or even into another room while the child throws the tantrum.

In some cases, you may be able to continue what you are doing while ignoring the child's tantrum. Of course, this can be difficult and even be embarrassing if your child has a tantrum in public.  Once the child has calmed down after you have ignored the tantrum or given the child space, you can talk about the situation.  

Of course, these are just a few of the ways to deal with a temper tantrum. Some parents have found that time-outs, hugging the child, reminding the child of rewards for good behavior, or moving the child to another room work well for dealing with a tantrum. No one method is going to work for every child, and no one method is going to work perfectly every time, even for the same child. What has worked for you when it comes to dealing with your toddler's temper tantrum?