Your child may be in their Terrible Twos, teething, or simply trying to deal with growing pains and other rapid changes in and outside of their bodies. You start to realise that their tantrums are happening way too frequently. It often frustrates you, and you wish you could tackle the problem better. The appropriate solution may vary from child to child, so it is crucial to find a method that suits your little one best. Here are a few tricks you can try during those nasty episodes.
Ignoring Your Child
You might be surprised by how effective this can be! Research shows that when your children are in the midst of a tantrum, they are literally out of their minds. This is when the emotions take over and it inhibits their ability to think or reason anything. There is nothing you can do in the moment to talk them out of it. If you are at home, try giving them some space (such as letting them sit in a quiet corner/room) to vent it out. It teaches them to deal with their own feelings and outbursts, before pulling themselves together and regaining control. Just make sure that nothing is in their way to hurt them during the tantrum episode.
Distracting Your Child
A child’s attention span is possibly one of the shortest. If you are not at home, and it so happens that they have broken down in tears, a snack or a song might help. Try asking them to help you with certain things like choosing an ice-cream flavour, or looking at something interesting nearby. Anything that keeps them from thinking about their frustrations will naturally help to soothe their emotions. Moreover, they could be feeling “hangry”, so handing them a biscuit or a pack of raisins might help them feel better. Nobody functions well on an empty stomach, so feed them if you need to. Try to avoid prolonged errands too, especially if it is way past their nap time.
Loosening The Reins
When a toddler reaches the age of two and beyond (when their Terrible Twos start), they tend to prefer to be in control of the things they do. For example, if your children like to pick out their own clothes, it is alright to let them decide although their choices might not be the most suitable. If they like to eat on their own, allow them to do it even though it will inevitably create a mess. Sometimes they are frustrated because they do not have sufficient vocabulary to express themselves, so teach your little ones hand signs for the things that they want (e.g. if they want more food) or ask them to show you what they want. Be less restrictive and more patient, that way you can avoid a lot of meltdowns.
Giving Them Hugs
Even though it might be the last thing you want to do when they are throwing a tantrum, it might just be the answer to your troubles. Sometimes they could be throwing a tantrum because they feel frustrated and annoyed. However, we do not mean the gentle and cuddly kind of hug. Instead, big and firm hugs are ideal for the situation. Do not utter a word, and let them calm down. Do not attempt to reason with them too, because that would result in another futile quarrel and aggravate the situation. The rationale behind this is to let your children know that they have a safe place to vent their emotions in. It also helps that they know someone is there at the receiving end. Additionally, you can offer them a snack and suggest a little chill-out session of TV.
If you tend to be impatient with your child and have the habit of expressing your frustrations when they are having a tantrum, try one of these tricks during a tantrum episode and see how it pans out. You may be quite pleasantly surprised by how effective they can be!