My son throwing a tantrum has been the one thing that makes parenting a challenge for me.
I talked to my friend and childcare expert, Shauna, about how to diffuse tantrums from her experience with care for over 10,000 children over the year. She gave some really great advice that I have to go back and listen too on the extra challenging days.
Recently I was able to get advice from other moms who have either dealt with tantrums on a regular basis or are dealing with tantrums now. Thankfully, these wonderful ladies let me get their best tips for dealing with tantrums and I have to share them with you!
I want to be a happy mom and not turn into the monster mommy. Between Shauna and the ladies I mention below, you will have what you need to handle tantrums even on your worst day.
Tiffany | The Crazy Shopping Cart
It depends on the age! A tantrum with an 2 year old is different than a tantrum with a 4 year old. But no matter the age, we tell our kids that it is OK and normal to have big feelings, like sorrow, anger or frustration. But we don’t do it to/with other people. If they feel the need to scream to get it out (which even adults do!), then they go into their bedroom or an alone place and do it there. When it is all out, we can talk about it. Toddlers get carried to their crib to do it alone until it stops.
Meagan | Meagan Robles-Harris
For the most part I try to get my toddler to tell me what is upsetting her so she gets used to communicating her feelings versus acting out. And I get her to say mommy I’m mad because xyz. I tell her it’s ok to feel mad but we can’t hit/throw/whatever the unwanted behavior is. I’ve been working on getting her to breath to calm down. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.
Kimberli | Mommy N Me Inc
Prevention is worth everything. The time’s she has tantrums is generally related to lack of sleep, too much sugar, hunger, over stimulation, etc. So I set her up for success and stick to a schedule. The few times she does have a melt down, I movd to a different room and whisper…it throws her off and she usually follows and starts whispering back… then I have wine, a very large glass of wine.
Gessica | Catholic Mom Vibes
Even my 1.5 year old can have his fits of anger. I try my best to be attentive to what is actually going on, and in addition, talk very quietly and firmly to him, giving him only 2 options. If he does not accept either choice, we move on. I do this with care and mercy, as you cannot be forceful and loud with a young child. They will simply do what they see you do. If you respond in a fit of anger, they see you and replicate. Children learn what they see before what they hear.
Nicole | The Professional Mom Project
I do my best to prevent them. I know my son’s triggers and try to avoid allowing them to happen. For example, he gets hangry at times so I know to always have a snack that he likes on hand. If I see that he’s acting up a bit I ask if he’s hungry, he usually says yes, has his snack and is back to his usual self.
If I recognize the warning signs early enough I am usually able to diffuse my 3-year-olds tantrums with a favorite toy, walk/play outside or cuddles. If I don’t see the signs and he hits meltdown point there are a few things I do. It depends on why/how he is having a tantrum:
- sit next to him and sing/talk quietly.
- wrap him up with my arms holding his arms down and close to his chest (not tightly, but enough to stop him flailing around).
- give him a safe space to let it all out.
Laura | Excuse The Mess
I handle a tantrum by trying to realize what caused the tantrum– ie. is my child hungry, tired, in a new setting? Once I asset the situation, I can better help my child with his tantrum. Sometimes, I have to hold him and give him more hugs, at other times, he needs some time in the corner to cool down. After he gets some time in the corner, I talk with him about what made him feel that way. I try to talk about feelings a lot and I stress “use your words” as much as possible.
Lauren | Honeycomb Moms
My baby is only 8 months old, and already he has taken to whining and crying when he doesn’t get his way. I have his sleep and eating schedules down, so I can usually tell when the crying is less need related and more along the lines of a tantrum. I ignore tantrums completely and don’t address his want until after he’s stops whining or crying.
Amandela | Meet The Harris Family
In a perfect world, I would like to think my method of redirecting my toddler’s attention works every time. But, it doesn’t. As long as she is not hurting anyone or herself, I allow my daughter to have a tantrum. Which basically means, I ignore her. I keep on doing what I need to do and if it involves her, I tell her what I need her to do. I think children look to their parents to respond or entertain their tantrums. My child is learning that is not okay and such behaviors will not get attention
Liz | Blue and Hazel
With my 4-year-old, I get down eye level and tell him he is not allowed to do that and to control himself. I don’t threaten to take away something far away (like a playdate the next day), but make him lose something immediately that he likes. One of the best diffusers has been to put him in his room to calm down. He can come out when he gathers self-control and then I say “I’m so happy to see you now!” If a fit happens in a store with a younger kid, I just power through it and get home asap.
Cindy | Living For The Sunshine
If I can see a tantrum coming, I try to distract the child, but if it’s inevitable, I ignore it and let the child have the tantrum. We talk about the issue after the child is calm again. There’s not much point in trying to reason with a child who’s having a meltdown, but a discussion afterwards is important.
Bri | HippieDippieMom
I do what I can to prevent them by monitoring my child’s sugar intake, giving her body the nutrients it needs to function and support a healthy gut. Most of the time, tantrums are caused by sugar addiction, lack of proper nutrients and poor gut health. These make it so the child almost has no choice because their body isn’t able to function properly.
Jennifer | Mrs G Living Simple
We switch gears when ever possible. Often a soothing bath, cuddles and a nap or playing a silly made up game will help. When something like that is not possible I tell her I know she is upset but when she calms down we will talk then. At that point I ignore her. I also know what triggers her to have more tantrums. (being over tired is one) So I try to be sure she is well rested for her day.
Mary | mamarohrerspride
I quickly try to find something around me that they are interested in. If you around a child enough you will notice when they are about to have a tantrum, stop it before it happens. Good luck
I hope you find these tips useful. Be sure to listen to the podcast episode with Shauna were she breaks down how she has diffused tantrums over the years.
Let me know in the comments what has worked for you to handle tantrums.