There are few parenting moments that are more embarrassing than the veritable toddler temper tantrum in the isle of your local supermarket. As your toddler throws himself down, screeching and banging his head you know that every on-looker is judging you.
Toddler tantrums can be almost entirely avoided with a few tools in your toolkit
- Sleep – Toddlers need a lot of sleep. They are still sponges for information and without regular day sleep and good quality night sleep, toddlers become very susceptible to overstimulation. An overtired toddler is a recipe for a temper tantrum.
- Predictable day routine – Toddlers thrive on predictable routines. When they know what is coming next and it always happens the same way, toddlers are significantly less likely to open up debate. A sensible routine should include three balanced meals and two snacks during daylight hours. When toddlers are hungry, they are like caged lions.
- Pick your battles – Every minute of your life can feel like a discussion and negotiation – it is exhausting parenting a toddler! The best advice is to ‘pick your battles’. If it is not central to his or another’s safety or morally incomprehensible, don’t fight it!
- Sensory time out – Toddlers are susceptible to sensory meltdown because we expect too much of them. To prevent toddler melt down, watch the social situation and length of interactions that you subject your toddler to carefully – keep play dates and parties short, make sure your toddler is well rested before birthday parties and keep parties small and manageable.
- Make him feel understood – Toddlers are working very hard at language and their thoughts and receptive language are around 6 months advanced of their verbal skills. This is so frustrating because they know exactly what they want and if they feel like they cannot express themselves or think they are misunderstood, they will become very irritable and likely to erupt. When your toddler expresses a need that you cannot fulfill, do the following ABC approach:
a. Acknowledge what your toddler wants so he feels understood
b. Boundary – give the boundary firmly and clearly
c. Choice – offer a reasonable choice that works for you