When your baby becomes a toddler, it’s really a very exciting period for both of you. You will discover that your baby is much more interesting as a personality in their own right. But you have to take the good with the bad. Your toddler maybe developing their very own personality and becoming more intrigued with the world around them every day, but at the same time – they are more likely to have meltdowns where screaming hissy fits are made to look tame.
It’s important to recognize the triggers of a toddler tantrum and to preempt them if you can. A quick refresher is that there are four common triggers to look for:
Preempt, Prevent, Ignore, Remove
Those are your four catchwords for the toddler tantrum. The first, preempt is described above. Avoid heading out for activities or others when your child is deeply tired or hungry. They should have food and a nap. You can do your errands in the morning after they have first woken up and are much more likely to be cooperative. Consider bringing along snacks or a toy they aren’t playing with daily – this will help alleviate hunger and boredom while on the move.
Your toddler may fall asleep in the car if they are that tired, if that’s the case – be aware that constant in and outs will likely elicit a tiny toddler explosion at some point. So judge your errands accordingly. If you can do several from the car – i.e. running through the drive-thru window at the bank – every extra minute of sleep helps.
But let’s say that pre-empting and prevention doesn’t work and you still end up with a toddler who is throwing themselves down and screaming their lungs out. You can ignore the behavior. More often than not, your child is demanding a reaction from you – positive or negative – they want a reaction.
When you deny them a reaction by failing to be impressed, upset or even fazed by their screaming fit – many times the toddler will cease because they don’t see the point. This is a hard attitude to adopt, especially when you are out and about and other people are involved.
Finally, if you can’t redirect or pretending to ignore it doesn’t seem to work, abandon your grocery shopping or errands and carry your little one back to the car. It could be they want to be snuggled or cuddled or simply out of there. I’ve seen toddlers affected by lights that were too bright or too many sounds or too many scents and it overloads them. This can be the source of their upset – removing them from the situation can improve their mood dramatically.
How do you temper your toddler’s tantrums?