We all know the dreaded situation of the toddler screaming and kicking on the floor at the supermarket... But why is it that children aged 1 - 3 years have these tantrums so often? and what can we as parents do you help them? 🤷♀️
At this age children are only just starting to develop their social and emotional skills and they often don't have the words to express the BIG emotions they are feeling. Tantrums are just one of the ways for them to express and manage feeling and try to understand or change what is going on around them.
So what are the main contributors to tantrums?⠀⠀
There are many thing that can contribute to tantrums in toddlers. They are going through a major developmental stage in their life socially and are experiencing many new emotions that they may or may not now how to manage just yet. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Your child's mood will influence how quickly and strongly they will react to things like frustrating events. Children who get easily upset are more likely to have tantrums.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
👉Stress, tiredness and over stimulation⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
These things can make it really hard for your child to express and manage their feelings and behaviour⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Situations that your child can have trouble coping with. For example if an older child takes your toddlers toy they are likely to feel quite overwhelmed and upset.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
👉 Strong Emotions ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Worry, fear, shame and anger can be very overwhelming for toddler as they are still learning what all theses big emotions mean and how they make them feel.
How can we prevent tantrums?
We can completely eliminate tantrums as this is our children's way of expressing their emotions and dealing with the new feelings they are experiencing as they develop their personalities. But we can use the following tactics to reduce to possibility of a tantrum.
Ensure you have a daily routine so that your child know what to expect. Make sure that you stick to it as closely as you can including sleep time. Reasonable limits need to be set and followed consistently.
👉 Plan Ahead
Plan town jobs and outings around your child's schedule and make sure that if you know you might be waiting in line ensure that you pack a small snack or toy for them to play with.
👉Encourage the Use of Words
When feeling big emotions its important to encourage your child to use their words to express to you how they are feeling. If your child is not yet talking try getting them to use sign language to explain that they are "hurt" "sad" "hungry" "tired" or "drink"
👉Allow them to make choices
It is important to include them in decision making that involves them. Giving them options such "Would you like to listen to the wiggles or playschool?". Ensure that you're not giving open ended questions such as "What would you like to wear" this can make them feel quite overwhelmed and may lead to a tantrum try say "would you like to wear the blue shirt or the yellow shirt?"
👉Praise Good Behaviour
Offer your child extra attention when they are behaving well. Praise your child and let them know how proud you are when they share, follow instructions or express their emotions with words.
👉Avoid Triggering Situations
We know that we cannot fully eliminate triggering situations and that's okay. But we can do our best to avoid such situations by not giving your child toys that are not yet within their capabilities, if your child tends to beg for treats or toy when shopping do your best to steer clear of those areas and if your child tends to act up in restaurants try choosing place that have quick service to limit the amount of time you spend there.
Responding to Tantrums
If you find your self in a situation where your child throws a tantrum there are ways you can respond that will help them manage their feelings and learn how to deal with them better next time.
This may be one of the hardest things to do when your toddler is right in the middle of a tantrum and even more so if it is in public. But it important that you do not react to their behaviour as this we give them the attention that they are seeking. If you are at home and unable to remain calm try leaving the room
👉Hold them Tightly
If your child is kicking and screaming try holding them close and tightly. This provides a gentle compression to their nervous system and will calm them down by helping them feel comforted.
👉Encourage Them to Use Words
Once your child has calmed down offer them comfort and encourage them to talk to you about the feeling they were having and what might have made them feel that way. It might also be useful to talk with them about ways better to express those emotions next time.
We hope you found this information useful and feel free to leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts