Tantrums and Toddlers

Tantrums and Toddlers
Toddler Tantrums

Just as you are congratulating yourself for surviving the first twelve months your toddler will start to enter a new phase in their lives. The terrible twos can start anytime from 18 months to four years old and may even span the entire 2 ½ years. They have just entered a world where their language skills are not yet developed enough to be able to express themselves. They have just realised that they can be independent of their parents and want to try and control their own environment. When they find that they do not have the control they are seeking such as refusing to go to bed, have their nappy changed or get into the car a temper tantrum occurs which is a toddler's way of coping with their frustrations.

When your child is in the midst of a tantrum there is no point in trying to reason with them, they are too emotionally caught up to even listen and yelling to try and be heard over the crying will not help as the child will react negatively to your yelling or threatening. Try to head off a tantrum by distracting them, if you have said no to something and see the tell tale signs try and distract them by taking them to another room and interesting them in a toy or activity. Try and keep track of what triggers off a tantrum. If they are more likely to lose it because they are hungry, carry healthy snacks with you. If they have trouble adjusting to a change in activity alert them before you leave the park or let them know that they are going to sit down for dinner when daddy finishes the story or activity. Allow them choices, rather than fighting over what they are going to wear ask if they want to wear the blue top or the green top, ask if they would like peas or beans rather than saying "Eat your peas", this will give them a sense of control and you end up with a win, win situation.

If the tantrum is already in full swing do not leave them by storming off into another room, they will feel abandoned, the overflowing emotion they are feeling could be frightening and they may need to know you are nearby. However, you do need to ignore them and continue on with your chores while trying to pretend they are not there (this may sound very difficult, but with time you can become quite expert at it) this will tell your child that you are not interested in this behaviour. If you are in a public place such as a shopping centre or restaurant this is not something you would want to sit and wait out so if you can remove them to a quiet corner or outside until the torrent is over it is better than giving in to keep the peace. Giving in will teach them that a tantrum will give them what they want. Don't worry about other people looking at you and what they are thinking, if you were to ask them they would probably say that they have been there and can empathise with you.

Once the torrent is over sit down with your child and talk about what happened. Let them know that their behaviour is unacceptable and that you will tolerate such behaviour. Toddlers naturally want to please so praise your child often for good behaviour, especially in front of other people rather than concentrating on the negative behaviour.

If you feel that the tantrums are getting out of control or you are not coping with them do not hesitate to talk to your GP or Paediatrician, they can ensure that a physical or psychological condition isn't causing the outbursts and suggest ways to deal with the problem. Even if you are be told that their behaviour is normal, this in itself could be reassuring and give you the strength to face another tantrum.

With thanks to http://www.your-baby.com.au