It’s hard to think about anything when your toddler throws a tantrum. For those few minutes your entire world becomes a high pitched scream and cringes on the inside.
Tantrums are not the best part of our lives as parents, but they are a normal right of passage as a child learns and grows.
If it’s possible to think of anything through those loud wails, here are a few things to remember when your toddler throws a tantrum.
- This is normal – Tantrums are a normal part of life and child development. Sure, it is one of the more unpleasant stages of a toddler’s life, but it is something (almost) every kid will go through at one point or another.
- You are a good parent – Sometimes, in our minds we equate tantrums with bad parenting. This is simply untrue. Children who grow up in all sorts of homes, with different parents and unique discipline methods have one thing in common. Tantrums. They creep up regardless of your methods or ideologies as a parent. Sure, the stage may last a little longer or a little shorter depending on the child and the parent, but they will come around regardless of how strict or lenient the parent. Toddler tantrums are inevitable and not a sign of inadequate parenting.
- They are learning – It can be helpful to remember that toddlers are not adults. They have yet to master the art of hiding their emotions from the world. This means they express exactly what they feel, when they feel it. Sometimes this comes out in sobs or screams. Other times it is communicated through rolling on the floor and the flailing of arms and legs. Kids are still figuring out how to feel their emotions without being overwhelmed by them. It is our job as parents to come along side them and teach them how to deal with disappointments and communicate their concerns in a culturally appropriate way.
- This isn’t forever – When the screeching starts, sometimes it feels like it will never end. But it always does, eventually the child is calmed or sleep falls and there is rest in the home, if only for a few hours. Beyond the day-to-day rest, this stage also does not last forever. A few months, perhaps a year, but it will end and you can escape with your sanity still intact.
- How to prevent it next time – While tantrums are an inevitable part of life and parenting, there are some things you can do to help prevent them. Simple things like providing extra snacks throughout the day, more opportunities for your child to rest, or easier transitions from task-to-task. Figure out what things trigger tantrums most frequently in your child and find ways to work around those triggers and prepare your child for them in advance. This can help eliminate many of your child’s tantrums and bring peace to your home.
It is never fun when your toddler throws a tantrum, but these five things can help you cope and find your way through this tough season of parenting.