How to Stop Toddler Tantrums - 6 Secrets to Calm Your Child's Temper

parenting Mar 24, 2021
How to Stop Toddler Tantrums

Toddler tantrums are one of the most unavoidable and unpleasant experiences you’ll go through as a dad. Not only will tantrums drive you nuts, but these tumultuous tendencies from your toddlers are sure to add to the stresses of being a father.  

Without a doubt, toddler tantrums can take any day and make it worse. Luckily, you can implement these six strategies to stop toddler tantrums. 

These strategies will calm your toddler and are some of the easiest to practice, based on our experiences at Dad University. 

Get ready to be the dad who calms tornado tantrums and learn the six strategies for tempering your toddler’s temper. 

However, before we talk about strategies, let’s address why toddlers throw tantrums in the first place. 

Why Do Toddlers Throw Temper Tantrums? 

Toddlers and adults have one thing in common — they both experience stress, boredom, sadness, anger, and hunger. 

However, unlike adults, toddlers haven’t learned how to handle these emotions. For toddlers, there’s no such thing as pleasantly asking for something or articulating their emotions. 

Instead, they resort to non-verbal activities when they experience new or strong emotions. Most of the time, these non-verbal activities match the intensity of their emotions, manifesting as crying, kicking, and screaming. 

Collectively, these activities (among others) are what we dads see as temper tantrums. When we look at the outbursts of our toddlers in this way, we recognize that tantrums are reactions to overwhelming emotions. 

The 6 Tried and Tested Strategies To Calm Toddler Tantrums

Now that we’re clear on why toddler tantrums happen, let’s talk about some actionable steps to manage them. 

Here are six things you can do the next time your toddler throws a fit. 

1. Stay Calm

Most parents react to tantrums by showing anger or irritation. However, responding with more emotions isn’t an effective way to manage tantrums. Reactions like these will likely fuel the child’s tantrums since they now have to deal with both their feelings and yours — which is a lot for a little one to handle. 

When your child is throwing a tantrum, the most important thing you can do is to stay calm. By maintaining a calm disposition, your toddler will sense your energy and feed off it. Your child’s emotions are likely to dissipate and so will the behavior these intense emotions cause. 

Another reason to stay calm is to show your toddler who’s boss (in a good way). Your calmness will reduce the chances of you reacting to your toddler’s outburst, which is essential if you want to calm toddler tantrums. 

This brings us to the next strategy. 

2. Don’t Give In

Under no circumstances should you give in to your child’s request during a tantrum. Here’s why. 

Tantrums are your child’s way of getting what they want because they can’t articulate their desires and emotions yet. If you give your toddler a positive reaction to their tantrums, your child will think one thing — “Hey, my tantrums are the best way to get what I want!”

You’ll be reinforcing the behavior and not giving your toddler any reason to learn new approaches to getting what they want.

Hence, do your best to keep your cool, and don’t give in when your child throws a fit. 

3. Ignore Behavior

This strategy goes hand-hand-hand with not giving in and keeping your cool. 

Besides a toy, food, or a nap, toddlers want one other thing — your attention. When you give your attention in response to a tantrum, your reaction becomes another source of reinforcement for the behavior.

For this reason, it may be best to ignore your toddler’s behavior when they throw a tantrum. Ignoring them may be challenging at first since you want your child to stop. However, it will be an essential strategy long-term as it communicates that tantrums aren’t a way to get your attention.

Over time, your toddler will notice that you’re not swayed by a tantrum and will develop better ways to get your attention.

When your child does get your attention in a much more acceptable way, implement the next strategy.

4. Positive Reinforcement Through Showing Appreciation

Ignoring your child and not giving in to demands are forms of negative reinforcement. However, when your toddler displays acceptable behavior, you need to reinforce the positive behavior through positive reinforcement. 

Positive reinforcement for a toddler can be many things. For the most part, what really reinforces positive behavior is a simple thank you. 

Children desire praise and approval from their parents. When you praise your child’s positive behavior, they’ll be likely to repeat the positive behavior that got them your praise and less inclined to throw a tantrum. 

5. Redirect When Your Toddler Becomes Distracted

Distractions can bring about toddler tantrums. Hence, when your toddler gets distracted by a shiny object or a moving vehicle, nip the tantrum in the bud by redirecting their attention.  

Redirection works by giving your child something new to focus on. As they shift their focus onto something you’re introducing like your car keys or a stuffed animal, your child’s mood will be less likely to escalate to a full-blown tantrum.

Redirection works for everyday bouts of tantrums. However, when your toddler has already started kicking, screaming, and crying, it may not be the best strategy. 

During more severe tantrums, strategies one to three will still be your best friends. 

6. Be Empathetic and Look at Things From Your Toddler’s Perspective

In many of our articles, we’ve preached the value of being empathetic. Empathy enables you to look at situations from your child’s perspective, and in no other situation is empathy more useful than during a tantrum. 

If your child throws a tantrum, calm your toddler down by showing that you understand why they’re upset. You can say things like “I know you’re upset because you didn’t get that cookie.” or “I see you’re mad about us not going to the park today.”

By showing empathy, you’re displaying your efforts to understand your child — and every child wants to be and feel understood. 

Stop Toddler Tantrums Like a Pro

Dealing with tantrums may be unpleasant. However, with the six strategies we’ve shared here, you’ll calm your toddler’s tantrums and help your child develop more positive ways to express themselves. 

So go ahead. Put these six strategies to the test and temper your toddler’s tantrums like a pro! 

Watch the "How to Stop Toddler Tantrums - 6 Secrets to Calm Your Child's Temper" video here:

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