Q: I’m a first-time parent, and my son is just getting to the “toddler tantrum” stage. I’m a bit overwhelmed – how do I handle these episodes?
A: That may depend on the reason for the tantrum. Is your child hungry or tired? If so, offering a snack or a nap may be all it takes to nip a tantrum in the bud.
However, if your child is frustrated over not getting his way, the best thing to do is ignore the outburst. The last thing you want to do is give in or drop everything in an effort to appease your little one. This will teach him that negative behaviour pays off.
Once your child does calm down, explain that screaming won’t work and that you need him to use words.
If the tantrum continues, however, you may need to use a time out. Place your toddler somewhere without toys or entertainment, and wait for him to quiet down before allowing him to rejoin the family.
It can also be helpful to identify those triggers that set your child off. If, for instance, your toddler tends to throw a fit when it’s time to leave a fun setting, prepare him in advance. A five-minute warning can go a long way toward heading off a tantrum. Finally, remember that toddler temper tantrums are perfectly normal. And, if they’re handled correctly, your child will soon learn healthier ways to express emotion. For more ideas about raising young children, explore our Resources.
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