How to deal with temper tantrums

They don’t call them the “terrible twos” and the “gruesome twosomes” for no reason! Toddlers throwing tantrums is a common occurrence, simply because young children do not have the sense and rationality to understand that they cannot always get their own way.

Having said that, it is in every parent’s interest to discipline their child calmly and effectively. Below are several tips on how to deal with temper tantrums, to help you get through the terrible twos, threes and even fours.

Avoiding arguing back

When a toddler is mid-tantrum, he/she is beyond reason, and therefore arguing or trying to reason with them is likely to have any effect and may well make the tantrum even worse.

Do not reward or punish a child because of tantrums

In order for a toddler to realise their tantrums will not get them anywhere, it is important that they are neither punished nor rewarded for their tantrum. In other words, make your child realise that their tantrum will not change anything.

Keep calm and refrain from screaming back

It is very easy to be tempted to scream and shout yourself when your toddler is behaving uncontrollably. Once a child detects anger in your voice, he/she will be inclined to become even more agitated and unreasonable. It may sound easier said than done, but keeping calm will have a calming effect on your toddler, and the outburst won’t last as long.

Do not try and physically restrain your child

It is often a natural reaction to try and physically restrain your toddler when he/she is kicking, biting and screaming, especially if the tantrum is thrown in a public place. Holding a child down rarely calms him/her and usually makes a child more determined to kick and hit out.

Keep toddlers away from any harm

When a toddler throws a tantrum they completely lose control. Make sure anything that could potential harm your child is out of the way, such as glass and china objects.

Try to avoid situations that cause tantrums

Prevention is always better than cure and the likelihood of a toddler throwing a tantrum is considerably reduced if you organise a child’s life so that frustration stays within the limits of what she can cope with. For example, if older siblings have a tendency to wind your toddler up, have a word with them so that they are aware that their ‘taunting’ may be causing their younger brother or sister to have tantrums – Outbursts of anger can be a frightening experience for everyone involved and nobody wants to witness a child throwing a tantrum, including older siblings.

Talk to your toddler

Part of the reason toddlers are prone to throwing temper tantrums is because of frustration. Talking to your child and explaining why they are not allowed to do something will help them come to terms with it when they are told no.

Reward good behaviour

Tantrums are often a toddler’s way of getting parent’s attention. Whilst you should not be at your child’s every beck and call, it is important to give them praise and positive attention for good behaviour. They will enjoy the admiration and it may cause them to make more of an effort to behave themselves more regularly.