Toddlers are amazing. They are curious, lovable and always want to know “why?” They are beginning to make sense of themselves in the world and want to explore everything. Many have little sense of danger and don’t like waiting for anything .They are not able to manage their emotions themselves yet. Temper tantrums are common and parents often find it difficult to cope when their toddler becomes overwhelmed with emotion. Below are some tips on how to manage these situations.
- Toddlers hear “No “or “don’t” a lot. Try to offer choice when possible –“blue shoes or wellies today?”
- Behaviour such as crying, screaming, biting or breath holding is your toddler trying to tell you they can’t cope. They are not doing it because they are naughty or bold
- Young children’s brains are not fully developed. They become overwhelmed very easily. Remaining calm yourself, staying close to your toddler, speaking gently and offering comfort help your toddler to recover more quickly
- Try to spot a tantrum coming on – hunger, boredom and tiredness are key triggers. Try to distract your child by offering to play with them or using humour such a silly voice, walk or face.
- Describe your child’s emotions to them. Say things like, “Playing with that puppy makes you very happy” or “I know you feel angry and frustrated that you we have to leave the park, but we’ll come back on Friday.” This will help them to put words to their feelings and help them to recognise their emotions
- Try to stay calm during a tantrum even if people are watching. It is not a reflection on you as a parent- they have probably been there too!
- Talk to a friend or think about joining a baby and toddler group. Chatting to other parents with toddlers can help you survive and enjoy the toddler years. Talk to your PHN, Creche staff or GP if you are worried about your child’s behaviour.