Toddler temper tantrums can be quite a challenge for every mom or dad. All of a sudden, your sweet-smiling, little angel turns into a screaming banshee, kicking and rolling on the floor as well. Here’s how you can tame a tantrum and not have a meltdown in the process.
Reinforce and Praise Good Behavior
Let your toddler learn how much you appreciate good behavior. Praise it lavishly and let your little one understand that good behavior is what is expected and loved. However, always remember to praise/criticize the behavior and never the child. So, use , “Hitting is bad” but not, “Bad [name of child]”.
Defusing a tantrum is easier when you offer an alternative. Not a bribe but an option. So, say your preschooler is lying on the floor in the supermarket aisle, kicking and screaming. Kneel down to his level and say calmly, “If you calm down, we can go home and make that cake you wanted.”
Prepare and Plan
Most tantrums take place when you’re shopping, so plan to make your trip to the supermarket as short as possible. Make a list and carry a favorite toy or snack to keep your toddler occupied. Hungry toddlers will have meltdowns, so prepare accordingly. Single-serve portions of pudding or candy or baggies with some finger foods are good things to have handy.
Use the Tantrum Police Card
Since tantrums usually take place in stores, supermarkets and other public places, use the tantrum police to calm down and defuse an angry outburst. With my daughter, I just use the appropriate store name or type and add ‘police’ at the end! So, we have Toy Store Police, Supermarket Police and so on.
Whisper to Soothe a Shrieking Child
A whisper works wonders. I don’t remember where I read this first but I’ve tried it tons of times and whispering always works to calm down my daughter. Its probably the surprise of hearing you whisper instead of yell or just that they’ve got to strain their ears to hear you, but in any case, it works. Make it more effective by coming down to the level of the child, hold him close and then, whisper in their ear. Just saying “hush, hush” softly would also do the trick.
Distract or Ignore
Tantrums are a part of the toddler years. Having a few tricks such as these up your sleeve will help you sail through most of them. You’ll just have to choose which one to use when your preschooler decides to throw herself in the middle of the aisle and roll around, crying and yelling.