Toddlers are known for having the ability to change their mood – from happy to extremely upset – within seconds. This can be very stressful for parents, especially if the “meltdown” happens in public. Fortunately, there are some things parents can do to prevent a toddler tantrum before it happens.
Watch for Warning Signs
Pay close attention to your toddler’s body language. Has he suddenly become extra grumpy, or more whiny than usual? Is she playing, but taking lots of breaks to lie down on the floor? Has your toddler started throwing their books, toys or food?
These are some of the ways toddlers signal that they have “had it” and are on the verge of a temper tantrum. A parent that sees these signs have a very short time to step in and prevent a tantrum from happening.
Provide a Distraction
Parents might be able to prevent a tantrum by providing a quick distraction. Blow some bubbles. Sing a song. Turn on some music and dance with your toddler. Offer a toy that your toddler hasn’t seen in a while. Simple distractions can make your toddler forget about having a tantrum.
Offer a Snack
A grumpy toddler could be a hungry toddler. How long has it been since your toddler has had something to eat? Has your toddler been doing a lot of physical activity today? It might be time to offer your toddler a snack. A little bit of food could change your toddler’s mood.
Encourage a Nap
If you notice that your toddler is lying down on the floor, but still trying to play, it might be time for a nap. One option is to pick up your toddler and try rocking him or her to sleep (like you did when they were a baby). This provides a relaxing transition between “playtime” and “napping in the crib”.
Change the Scenery
If your toddler seems fussy, or has started throwing toys, it might be a good time to take a walk. Get out the stroller and go for a walk down the block. Doing so gives your toddler some fresh air and some new things to look at for a while. Sleepy toddlers might take a much needed nap in the stroller.
Do a Health Check
Have you ever been at work when you were too sick to be there? You probably found that frustrating. Toddlers who don’t feel good can be extra prone to throwing a tantrum. Check to see if your little one is running a fever, has a runny nose, or has diarrhea. If so, offer relaxing activities like watching a movie together, or reading books in bed. This could help prevent a tantrum.
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