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How to deal with Tantrums

Thursday, 5 May 2016  | 

Dealing with the terrible twos

Jack has just turned two and in typical toddler fashion is starting to have tantrums. All of the time! He is starting to test boundaries and gets frustrated when things don't go to plan or his way. Over the last two years I feel that I have got the baby and early toddler period sorted. I know what I'm doing. This happening has left me with no plan and no idea on discipline. After a fair few errors and plenty of trials, we have worked out what works for us when dealing with a toddler having a tantrum whilst also learning to deal with a toddlers behaviour as a whole.

If anyone else is going through this stage and dreads going out for fear of another tantrum, your not alone. Maybe my tips will help! If they make you think about what will work for you as a family, that's great.

1. Focus on positive behaviours

With Jack we have found that focusing on positive behaviour is key. This means that every time Jack does something well we praise him. I have recently started a rewards system with Jack. When he gets so many stars, he gets a surprise. This could be a park visit or a sticker book. He loves this idea and has even started tidying his toys away. I've been trying to get him to do that for months! Focusing on the positive behaviour of Jack means that he wants to repeat that behaviour as when he does he gets a lot of attention.

2. Offer choice

Toddlers are just entering the stage where they want to be independent. Obviously they cannot be left to make their own decisions but choice can be offered on occasion.

Jack hates getting dressed. It recently took me 1hr 30 minutes to get Jack dressed. He would stiffen his body and writhe around so it became physically impossible to get him ready for the day. I then started to offer him choices on the clothes he was wearing during the day. He began to pick out of two options. The tantrums suddenly stopped and have not started again. Simply offering him choice gives him independence and in Jack's case has stopped some of his frustration spilling over into a tantrum. This has also worked when trying to get him to eat at mealtimes too.

3. Try not to get emotional

When a child is having a full blown tantrum in a public place, it would be very to raise your voice in response and get emotional about things. I find that the best way to handle a toddler tantrum is to remain calm. I don't shout. I firstly will remove him from the situation and then will get down on his level and talk to him about what has happened. If he is shouting and screaming I will ignore him as I find giving him lots of attention at this time makes him worse and the tantrum continue for longer.

4. Be realistic

Toddlers are experiencing new things and emotions on a daily basis. Before disciplining your toddler, ask yourself if your toddler is just being a toddler. I think sometimes you can expect too much from a child and whilst I always will discipline Jack when he bites, hits or does other things that are just not acceptable, I also think that you have to learn to let things go. If I picked out every moment that Jack was doing something I didn't want him to too, then life would become a battle.

5. Don't always say No.

Saying no to your toddler all of the time could cause him to tune out and in those occasions where you really need to say no, the word may not have as much of an effect.

I always say no when Jack is doing something potentially dangerous or naughty. However, if Jack is just doing something that I would prefer him not to do I try to use other words or distractions. This means that when I say no I really mean it.

I hope this helps you. Toddlers are developing on a day to day basis and what works one day may not work the next. For us the reward chart was our turning point. For you it may be something different, try a few things out and find out what works. Good luck!

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