Toddler temper tantrums can cause anxiety in the best moms.
I’ve been there at grocery stores, school events, theme parks, and weddings.
If your toddler is going to start a tantrum then chances are they don’t care where you are when it happens.
Toddlers know just how to throw a fit and it’s usually up to mom to figure out how to stop it.
Why do toddlers have tantrums?
Toddlers remind me of angsty tweens. So MANY emotions!
The toddler stage is between ages 1 and 3. During this time our little babes are learning so much about how to communicate.
Not only are they learning new words and phrases. But, they are also experimenting with a slew of new ways to express their emotions to you.
What they are feeling is important and they want you to hear them and address their unmet need.
That’s when the tantrums set in. They have an unmet need and have gotten overly frustrated with trying to express that to you.
So, to get your attention the screaming, tears, throwing, biting, kicking, and throwing themselves dramatically on the floor set in.
How long do toddler tantrums last?
Toddler tantrums always seem like they are longer than they really are. Tantrums can last from 5 minutes to an hour, but there are several ways to prevent them or stop them quickly.Here are some tips about when to worry about toddler tantrums. There are some signs to look out for, but for the most part toddler tantrums are completely normal.
Why do toddlers have tantrums?
Your toddler is most likely having a tantrum because they have an unmet need and the tantrum most likely won’t stop until that need has been met.
Most of the time tantrums are easily stoppable. Don’t miss my tips to stop them dead in their tracks below!
Remember they are probably throwing a fit because they have a need that needs to be met. Here are some of the core reasons your toddler may be throwing a fit.
- Sleep– They may not have gotten enough sleep the night before. Or, it might be close to nap time. Sometimes if you are busy running errands or on vacation your toddler may fall out of their routine and be more tired than usual.
- Hunger– Don’t we all get cranky when we are hungry? Sometimes our little ones get hungry, but they are too busy playing or going about their day to tell us what they need.
- Breaking Routine– Most toddlers thrive on routines. When those are broken sometimes they test the waters to see what kind of mischief they can get into. This can often lead to frustration and a temper tantrum.
- Sibling Rivalry– Toddlers can get frustrated with their siblings and there inability to communicate those frustrations. This is a big one in our home right now. My daughter and son love each other to pieces, but they also like to argue. Sometimes I don’t notice something her brother is doing is bothering her and sending her towards a huge tantrum.
- Your Mood– You may not be aware of your mood or how much your toddler is picking up on things going on around them. Seeing you sad, angry, or moody will definitely affect their mood.
- Environment– Is it really hot or cold outside? Is it possible your little one is cranky because they are overheating or getting cold. Make sure when you are outdoors you are aware of your toddlers needs. If you are doing something active make sure they are staying hydrated and getting enough to drink.
- Comfort– Is your toddler potty trained? They may be getting cranky because they need to be changed. If they are getting unruly in their car seat or high chair make sure nothing is poking them or making them uncomfortable.
- Illness– I can’t tell you how many times my kids, even at toddler age, have gotten cranky because they are coming down with an illness. When you finally find out they have a fever or are vomiting it makes so much sense why they were acting out.
- Attention– Your toddler might just really be craving attention from mom and dad!
How do you handle toddler tantrums in a positive way?
When your toddler breaks down it can cause major anxiety.
In public, people might be staring, you might be feeling judgy stares from other moms.
All the stress and pressure is enough to make you lose your temper, panic, cry, or all of the above.
You might start to feel like a horrible mom because your toddler isn’t behaving the way you want them to.
It’s completely normal to feel this way and also completely normal for your toddler to be throwing a tantrum in the first place.
So how can you handle it in a positive way?
First, stay calm! Take a deep breath and quickly assess the situation.
There are several ways to stop a toddler tantrum.
Sure they may want their favorite toy. But, are they hungry? Did they get enough sleep?
If you can pinpoint what it is, that makes it easier to have empathy with your toddler and stay calm while you handle the situation.
Forget about the stares and the other parents around. Stay calm and attempt to stop the tantrum.
Here are some tips for putting a stop to your toddlers temper tantrum:
- Stay Positive- Your toddler picks up on your mood. So, no matter what, stay calm and positive. If you are losing your temper, take a deep breath and reassess.
- Fix what can be fixed– If your child needs a diaper change, they are hurt, or a sibling is bothering them chances are you can fix the problem right then and there. Quickly check if it can be fixed and then go and fix it to see if that doesn’t stop the tantrum.
- Find a quiet spot– If there is a quiet spot close by try to take your toddler there. If you are at a theme park or somewhere that’s busy it might be overwhelming for your toddler to try and communicate with you or to feel your comfort while you are trying to calm them.
- Get down on their level– Sometimes a toddler needs you to get on their level, so they know you actually HEAR them. bend down and talk to them calmly.
- Hold them- Toddlers are still babies. They want to be held, loved, and comforted. Put forth an effort to show them love, hold them, and try to use a calm and soothing voice to calm them down.
- Keep an emergency kit– Is there something that you know will calm your toddler. A favorite stuffed animal, a book, a song, a lolly pop, a treat, your phone. Keep an arsenal of these things in your purse for these moments and use them to keep your toddler happy until you can meet their need. Maybe you just need to get them through that family dinner until you can get home and put them for a nap.
- Give In– I know a lot of moms would say to give into a toy or prize when your toddler is throwing a tantrum is a big no-no. However, in certain cases I disagree. Sometimes when I am shopping at the store and my toddler starts into a tantrum I will give her a toy or a prize so I can get what I need and head home. Most of the time the tantrum starts because she is tired or worn out from running errands with mommy. Giving in keeps her happy, me sane, and nobody has to shed any tears.
- Find a way to leave– There is a point when toddlers reach a point that I like to call “the point of no return”. This is when they are so upset that nothing will calm them down. Usually this has happened to us at theme parks or in the car while traveling. Your little one can get so overtired that nothing will calm them down until you either get them to sleep or away from the situation. It can be hard to leave in certain situations, but sometimes it’s just necessary. A quick trip to the car may help them calm down or you might need to leave home or back to the hotel if your traveling to get your toddler some much needed rest.
How can I prevent toddler tantrums?
It’s always better if you can figure out a way to prevent toddler tantrums in the first place.
Prevent your toddler’s tantrum by:
- Set an early bedtime so your toddler is getting enough sleep at night.(Try these toddler sleep aids)
- Set routine nap times if needed
- Make sure your toddler is getting the right nutrients and is eating during meals and snack time.
- Dress your child appropriately during travel and outdoor activities so they are comfortable
- Avoid triggers like the toy aisle at the grocery store
- Run errands when your child is well rested and in their best mood
- Set simple and clear consequences (Try these positive parenting strategies)
- Keep a calm and positive attitude each day around your toddler (the happier mom is the happier toddler will be)
- Make sure your toddler is getting lots of one on one time with mom and dad (sometimes toddlers act out when they aren’t getting enough attention)
What if my toddler’s tantrums are violent?
If you’ve tried all of these tips and your toddler is having too frequent, self-harming, or violent tantrums it might be a sign that something else is going on.
Here are guidelines for when to worry about tantrums.
Do you have any tips for dealing with toddler tantrums? Let me know in the comments below!
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