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Toddler tantrums : Possible reasons and how to handle them

Having a child means you have to raise him and the parent in you as well. It involves a lot of trial and error but with time we both learn. Although all the parenting phases come with a different set of challenges we need to be extra careful with toddlers (age 2 to 5) and handling toddler tantrums as these are their emotional building years. The way we react and channelize their emotions affects their teenage and adult life as well.

Toddler tantrums can be frustrating and straining. No parent can predict what may trigger a big temper tantrum. But we can always be prepared for handling toddler tantrums and calming down our kids.

It may seem difficult at first, but once you are mentally prepared, you can tackle any toddler meltdown. First, we need to understand why does it happen and why we need to handle them calmly and patiently.

Reasons behind toddler tantrums:

A simple reason for their tantrums: Little people, big emotions.

At age of 2, they start having emotions and feelings. They start feeling hurt, sad, upset and they don’t know how to manage them. Their emotions are all over the place and so sometimes their reactions seem exaggerated.

What appears to us unreasonable behavior is a normal child development process and their way to deal with their newly felt emotions. We can zero it down to four main causes:

  • The child is not getting enough attention from parents.
  • Child is sleepy
  • Child is hungry
  • Child is uncomfortable

These three things cause an untimely tantrum. Another reason is that the child has his heart set on something and you are not allowing him to do it or buy it.

The first step to handle a toddler tantrum

In my experience, the first and most important step to handle a toddler tantrum is the pre-preparation. Let’s break this down into pointers.

  • Label their emotions. They need to know what they are feeling. So next time you see your kid is irritated, ask him, are you hungry? Are you upset with? Are you angry?
    This way they will be able to identify what they are feeling next time and maybe they will come to you and tell you in proper words.
  • Give them dedicated 30 minutes every day. Make sure you have no phone, no book, or anything else. If you spend quality and dedicated time with your kids every day, they feel secure and connected. This helps them to understand that you are their safe place and also strengthens your bond.

How to calm down a tantrum?

First of all, you have to be calm and patient. This is not a power struggle. This is not an ego clash. This is your child feeling helpless. If you yell at your kid, trust me, you will need double the time to calm him down. Better start with preserving your cool.

Few things have helped me to calm down Aarav :

  • Tell him it’s okay to cry. Most of the parents tell kids to stop crying because it’s a small thing. But this way they suppress their emotions and tell them that their feelings are irrational, which is wrong. I hold Aarav near me and tell him to describe what he is feeling. Although he is not able to put out proper words he feels secure and calms down.
  • Distract and divert. This works most of the time. Instead of explaining to them not to yell and cry, distract them. Show them something interesting around you. They are too small to find a pigeon boring. Their attention span is less and you can take advantage of it. If your kid is crying for a phone, take him outside and show him cars. Once I took Aarav outside and we counted kids on cycle. He immediately forgot about the phone. This is just one example. Improvise according to your child.
  • Lastly, I read about this trick in the book, ‘How to talk so kids will listen, & listen so kids will talk’ by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Give an outlet for expressing their emotions. Give him a pen or crayon and notebook and tell him to express his anger on paper.

I did this with Aarav and boy it worked magic. He scribbled like crazy at the beginning and gradually forgot why he started to scribble and did it just as an activity. So it’s distraction and expression at the same time you see.

Lastly, I would suggest, observing and identifying the triggers for your child. Once you know what triggers meltdowns, you can avoid the whole episode. But more importantly, know that it is okay and this shall too pass. No child is difficult, just handle with love.

I hope this blog helps you to understand your toddler and to calm him down next time he throws a tantrum. If you like it, please do share your valuable feedback. You can also find me on Instagram and slide into my inbox for the same.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by
Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla,
and generously SPONSORED BY
Bugshield Clothing – Enjoy Outdoors More!

31 Comments

  1. I like the pointer that says It’s okay to let him cry. Very sensible pointers and very helpful read.

    1. Thanks dear! Do share with other moms:)

  2. Toddlers are such cute souls. But they are yet to develop a language in which they cam communicate their feelings. They get overwhelmed and sometimes confused. Handling them with patience and love can help them in conveying what they want and feel.

    1. Yes that’s the only way we can calm them down. 🙂

  3. Wow! beneficial posts. My younger one is in her tantrums two. Handling toddlers are indeed straining sometimes. Though I am already using many of the tips from the list you have mentioned above, and some are new, like scribbling on paper and let them cry, I noted down these two also for further tactics.

    1. These are small but very effective tricks. Do try them:)

  4. Toddlers are such sweet little creatures. They need lots of hugs and a generous dose of patience, to reduce their tantrums.

    1. Absolutely right ❤️

  5. I agree…spending time with toddles or kids in general and let their emotions sees the light is vital. I use the strategy distract and divert all the time and it works wonders.

  6. distraction is the best way to deal with tanttrums. Right from the age of 1 years, i have been using this technique and I have become a pro at cooking up stories or instances. At the age of 5, it still works with my sonny boy. 🙂

  7. I dont have kids but have seen many parents around me getting bogged down by tantrum throwing. Sensible tips to follow to calm the little ones down. I really like and can relate to the lil person big emotion one 🙂

  8. Toddlers are the best..let them cry is a great idea. A hug, a kiss and some dedicated attention solves any tantrum I feel, isn’t it? New moms will surely benefit from your tips.

  9. As cute as toddlers are it is very difficult to handle their tantrums. You made a very good point to let them cry instead of supressing their emotions.

  10. Monidipa

    Your pointers are really good and your article is really good!

  11. You have mentioned very sensible and doable tips. It really helps one to let the baby mellow down and just be by her/his side for a while without saying much.

  12. These are great tips. Even my grandchildren are no longer toddlers too. You are right, sometimes you have to let them be.

  13. I am a mother of a toddler. Though she is kind of expert in expressing her emotions but I agree every child is different. Great pointers here. No child is difficult to handle they just need our love and care.

  14. With a 2 year old toddler at home this is a very helpful post for me.

  15. I often find toddlers throwing a tantrum in public places with hapless parents left with no option but to comply. But at the same time, it is important to understand the triggers to the tantrums. I am sure this post would be helpful to parents.

  16. For dealing tantrum, a mother has to be patient. This is the only way to handle that child. I like the point where the child is asked to express his/her anger on paper with colours.

  17. Yesss, I have read that book ‘ how to talk to kids’ and loved all the ideas in it. Letting them cry and expressing through drawing are techniques I have tried too. Good article..

  18. Very useful pointers and shall certainly keep them in mind 👍

  19. I agree…spending time with toddles or kids in general is very important .I have already made sure to listen to my childs emotion and reasoning .

  20. Really good points you have .mentioned.. I am a mom of two too.. And I truly follow, listen to them, before I speak up.

  21. Aishwarya Sandeep

    Distract and Divert is one mantra that I follow. I still feel that sometimes, just distracting them can get us make them to stop their tantrums. But then those around feel that you are not understanding your child and not doing sufficient for your child.

  22. Very useful and practical tips
    Toddlers are adorable but also very smart.
    It is so important to not let the children dictate your every move and learn to be firm when needed.

  23. As a mother who has undergone this phase, and still undergoing it, I can vouch for these wonderful tips shared by you. Toddlers often are confused and demand all our attention towards them. A parent should always ensure that he/she is able to devote atleast an hour with the toddler daily.

  24. Totally agree with the last pointer and we do that at the time of tantrums as well. Works wonders

  25. That’s so important, and critical for every mother to practice. Loved the way you have made these points

  26. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

  27. Definitely, what a splendid website and instructive posts, I will bookmark your blog.Best Regards!

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