Toddler tantrums are to be expected. However, your child is an individual, and their tantrums may not be exactly as the text books describe them.
Some children have short bursts of crying, that subside by themselves when their body starts producing serotonin, while others may last longer.
Some children even become more distraught, and hysterical, as the tantrum progresses.
A good idea, if your child tends to have long, drawn out tantrums and take ages to calm down, is to get them involved in more physical activity every day.
This helps the body to produce more serotonin, and you will find it easier to calm them when a tantrum does strike.
If the conventional wisdom of simply ignoring the tantrum does not seem to be working, you might find that holding or soothing your child early on in the tantrum has a better effect.
Distracting a child that is on the verge of a tantrum – with a toy or fun activity – is another way to head off tantrums before they start.
Whatever you do though, don’t respond with anger – it will only make the tantrum worse.
We have some easy steps to tackle these tantrums:
1. Don't lose your cool.
A tantrum is not a enjoyable, ever. In addition to kicking, screaming, and pounding the floor, your little one may choose to throw things, hitting things, and maybe even hold their breath to the point of turning blue. While this may be hard to handle, stay calm and know that breath holding is actually normal behaviour for a child having a tantrum.
2. Remember that you're the adult.
We do not respond to threats, OK? No matter how long the tantrum continues, don't give in to foolish demands or try to negotiate with your screaming toddler. Politics has no place here. It's especially tempting to cave in as a way of ending a public episode. Nothing worse.
3. Use time-outs sparingly.
Depending on the child, using a time-out occasionally, but not too often, as they may lose their power. A time-out can be helpful when your child's tantrum is especially intense and other techniques aren't working. Placing your child in a quiet can be a good lesson in self-soothing.
4. Talk it over afterward.
When the storm subsides, hold your child close and talk about what happened. Discuss the tantrum in very simple terms and acknowledge your child's frustration.
5. Let your child know you love them.
Once your child is calm and you've had a chance to talk to them about the tantrum, give them a hug and tell them that you love them.
6. Try to head off tantrum-inducing situations.
Pay attention to which situations push your child's buttons and plan accordingly. If she falls apart when she's hungry, carry snacks with you. If she gets cranky in the late afternoon, take care of errands earlier in the day.
7. Watch for signs of overstress.
Although daily tantrums are a perfectly normal part of the mid-toddler years, it's a good idea to keep an eye out for possible problems. Has there been upheaval in the family? An extremely busy or harried period? Parental tensions? All of these can provoke tantrums.