My sweet little toddler is starting to have temper tantrums. If he doesn’t get what he wants, (and especially if he’s tired!) he throws himself on the floor and cries. It may only last a few seconds, but he’s expressing his frustration and anger this way. He’s 20 months old and this is typical for toddlers to act up like this, but of course I don’t like it and I want to teach him to control his emotions.
Do you have a child like this? Today I’ll be sharing 5 ways I handle temper tantrums and I hope it can give you ideas if you have a little one that likes to express himself this way.
1. Be the One in Authority
- You are the parent. Don’t let your child try to take over that role and get what he wants. A temper tantrum is basically a rejection of parental authority in that moment.
- Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am the parent and that God put my husband and I in charge of raising our children. This means I pray a lot for wisdom and guidance.
- Set boundaries with your children, so they don’t think they can always make their own decisions and run their own lives.
2. During a Temper Tantrum, Walk Away or Isolate Child
- When a toddler is having an outburst (like throwing himself on the floor), walk away or pick him up and set him in his crib to calm down. Of course you want to monitor the child to make sure he isn’t in danger or harmful to himself, but let the temper tantrum run its course. You can’t quite do this in public, but if you are at home, my advice is to put the child in its bed for a minute or two to calm down. You could also have the child sit on the step to calm down before continuing an activity.
3. Have Consequences
- After the child has a temper tantrum, make sure they have a consequence so the tantrum has real value to the child. For example, if your child had an emotional outburst while playing with a certain toy, take the toy away. You don’t need to take away everything, but just something to remind the child that a tantrum will have consequences.
4. Teach Them to Obey
- When your toddler is at an age that they can understand obedience, you should teach them to obey. I started doing this with Wes when he didn’t want to get his diaper changed. I would say, “Wes, you need to obey.” At first he just ran around and didn’t think it was necessary to obey. After I said it in a sterner voice, he ran to me. I immediately praised him and gave him a big hug. Now when he gets his diaper changed, he obeys, for the most part. If he doesn’t, I remind him by saying, “Wes, you need to obey.” Then I give him a big hug and tell him he did a good job when he does.
5. Be Consistent and Don’t Give In!
- Don’t allow your child to get what they want because they throw a fit. They will keep doing that their whole life unless they are corrected! (Would you agree that even adults can have temper tantrums?!)
- You must be consistent and train your child to obey through careful discipline. The rules have to be the same each day.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say! Don’t tell your child they can have 1 cookie, but then when they grab another one you ignore it. Or when you tell your child 5 more minutes of playing, make sure you time it and don’t let them have 10 more minutes. (By the way, a timer is a good tool to have!)
There is another type of tantrums and it comes from frustration. Frustration tantrums take place when children know what they want to do, but do not know how to accomplish it. They are frustrated, but not rebelling. Make sure to distinguish the two and don’t punish frustration tantrums. If they are frustrated with a certain toy and it’s getting out of hand, remove the toy and direct them to a different activity.
If you are looking for some great parenting books, I learned a lot from the following:
I know that you may not agree with me, but I’m just sharing what has worked for us. I am definitely not a perfect mom and parenthood is a continual journey. What are your thoughts? Do you have a suggestion on how to deal with tantrums? I would love to hear your thoughts!