*Last updated April 4, 2020
The toddler years are a time of learning, exploring, and growing.
However, this is also a time for throwing the dreaded toddler tantrums!
Say goodbye to toddler tantrums for good with these helpful tips for managing and preventing tantrums.
Toddler Temper Tantrums
Toddlers want to be independent but are not expert communicators yet. This leads to a lot of frustration and eventually temper tantrums.
Some of the easiest ways to eradicate tantrums are to deescalate and distract before they occur, validate their emotions, and talk softly and remain calm.
We’ve all been there.
You’re in the grocery store with a cart full of groceries. You’re waiting in the endless checkout line behind somebody with an overflowing shopping cart.
You sense your toddler starting to get antsy and begging to get out of the shopping cart.
She’s eager to run around and grab everything off of the shelves.
The first whine starts and you know it’s coming.
Next thing you know, your toddler
It feels like every eye in the grocery store is on you and you start turning beet red.
Nobody wants to have to deal with this scenario and you don’t have to forever!
Learn why toddler tantrums happen and how to prevent and manage them before they even begin!
What Causes Temper Tantrums In Toddlers?
Toddlers are a unique age group of young children because they’re not quite babies anymore, but they’re also not quite kids.
They’re learning to communicate, but for the most part, they can only put 2-word sentences together with a limited vocabulary.
Toddlers want to be comforted like babies, but they also want to be independent “big kids”.
They know what they want, but they’re not always able to physically do things by themselves or verbally express themselves.
These changes are overwhelming for toddlers and are typically the root cause of toddler tantrums.
As parents, it is our job to help overcome this frustration and encourage them to learn and grow into kids.
We have to help our toddlers overcome the tantrums and frustration. Work with your toddlers to manage and end temper tantrums.
How To Handle Toddler Temper Tantrums
1. Teach Your Toddler To Talk
Help your toddler learn to talk and communicate. This is obviously not something to be done during a tantrum.
However, efficient communication will help prevent future tantrums.
Frustration and the inability to communicate often lead to toddler tantrums.
If you help your toddler learn to express herself better, she may not get as overwhelmed or upset.
Imagine if you were craving something to eat, but people couldn’t understand you and kept offering something else.
This would be really frustrating.
Toddlers feel the exact same way!
They’re able to think and have opinions, but young toddlers sometimes struggle to find the right way to express what they really want.
Learn many helpful tips to help your toddler build their vocabulary to avoid the frustration of not being understood.
2. Distract and Change the Scenery
Don’t underestimate the power of distraction.
If you sense your toddler is getting whiny or frustrated, this is the time to act.
Whenever my little one starts to get frustrated, I pull out some different activities.
I always keep a small collection of toys, books, and crayons in my backpack. This distracts her from what she was upset about and keeps her occupied.
If she’s not interested in the first item, try something else.
If a tantrum has already begun, it may be more challenging to distract, but keep trying with different favorites.
Turn on music or sing a favorite song. Just keep trying different activities until you grab their attention.
3. Talk Softly and Remain Calm
When a tantrum strikes, it’s key as a parent to remain as calm and collective as possible.
Your toddler is constantly watching and mimicking your behavior.
If you raise your voice or yell, this is almost guaranteed to make your toddler more upset and yell louder.
Tantrums can be extremely stressful as a parent.
If you find yourself close to yelling, close your eyes and take some deep breaths.
It’s vital that you learn to control your emotions in order to teach your little one how to control their own.
Try to remain calm and speak softly.
Kids are curious by nature and they’ll eventually lower their volume in order to hear what you are saying or singing.
Also, when you remain calm it helps deescalate their emotions and helps them calm down quicker.
4. Identify Triggers
The next time your toddler starts to get frustrated, take a minute and evaluate the situation.
Are they hungry or tired?
Are they trying to communicate something and you’re not understanding?
The key to handling tantrums is to identify why it started.
If you can identify a trigger, now is the time to intervene. Try to avoid situations where your child is overtired or over hungry.
Young children are not very good at expressing themselves verbally, so they rely on us parents to meet their needs.
Also, pay attention to signs of frustration.
For example, if your child is begging for a certain food or toy and you keep saying no, start watching their behavior.
If you see them gradually getting more upset, change the scenery, distract, and prevent a full-blown tantrum from ever occurring.
5. Hug it out
Sometimes toddlers need comfort and support when they are upset.
After all, they are still babies and need mom and dad for comfort and love.
A firm hug shows them you understand they’re frustrated and you’re still there for them.
Physical touch provides a calming effect and releases “feel good” hormones.
However, be mindful that not everyone wants to be touched or hugged when they’re upset.
Pay attention to how your toddler responds to your touch.
Many times they will enjoy the embrace and calm down with your presence.
However, if they seem to get more upset, provide them with some extra space.
6. Walk Away
Sometimes the only way to handle a tantrum is to walk away. You and your little one might need some space to calm down.
As long as you’re in a safe environment and you know your toddler won’t fall or access anything dangerous, step out of the room.
Some children need time to let out their frustration.
Also, if you’re going through a phase of daily tantrums, you may be getting to your wit’s end.
It’s ok to walk away sometimes and let the tantrum run its course.
Additionally, if you feel very frustrated yourself, it’s safer to step back for a moment than to yell at or spank your child.
7. Validate Their Emotions
If your toddler is throwing a tantrum, they’re usually feeling very frustrated or misunderstood.
Take time to express to them that you understand how they’re feeling.
Simply tell them “I see that you’re feeling frustrated right now” or “I can see that you’re upset”.
This puts their emotions into words and shows them that you understand.
As I mentioned before, tantrums are typically the result of feeling out of control or misunderstood.
When you validate their emotions, you help toddlers feel validated and respected.
8. Essential Oils
When your little one starts to get worked up and agitated, pull out an essential oil blend.
Young Living’s Kids Scents line is safe for children and provides an immediate calming effect.
Before you purchase any oils, always be sure to check the quality and safety, especially before using on children. I love Young Living Oils, which are quality controlled and constantly updated and regulated.
9. Stay Strong and Don’t Give into the Trigger
Once your little one finally calms down, it’s so important to identify what the trigger was.
If your toddler had a meltdown because they didn’t want what was for dinner, it’s very important not to give in after the tantrum.
If you allow them to eat something different, this will show them that the tantrum was effective.
This shows if they cry, then they can eat whatever they’d like.
Instead, once they calm down, try offering the same food again, but in a different setting or on a different plate.
You can tell them you understand they did not want this dinner, but unfortunately, it is what they have to eat.
Again, this validates their
Just remember, you are not alone in any of this. Parenting is not easy. We love our children unconditionally, but raising children can be very trying.
If you’re stressed or overwhelmed, step back, breathe, and try again tomorrow. Raising children is an ongoing process that takes time.
For more resources on managing your own stress level so you can be better prepared to handle these tantrums, check out this article.
Toddlerhood is an exciting time of development, but can be very frustrating.
As your toddler continues to grow and learn, make sure to involve them in chores around the house and keep including them as part of the family.
At the end of the day, they just want to be loved and included like everyone else.
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