If you have a toddler, chances are you’ve experienced a tantrum (or 2). It’s a normal, natural thing that toddlers do and we as parents are all in the same boat. So, do you want to know what to do when your toddler has a tantrum? Our incredibly insightful, guest writer, Chrissie Davies from Chaos To Calm Consultancy is giving us the low down…
Never underestimate the value of toddler tantrums
Tantrums and toddlers go hand in hand. A bit like wine and cheese – but not nearly as relaxing! They are for the most part loud, embarrassing, long and frustrating, but a very important part of our child’s development and ability to learn to be able to self-regulate. A complicated skill indeed – ask any adult if they have mastered it yet and I am sure they will say “I am still working on it!”
Why do they have tantrums?
There is a reason why all toddlers tantrum and it is to do with their brains developing at an alarming rate. There is a lot of action going on in that little brain and most importantly those neural pathways are being stretched and established, and our little ones are looking to us to teach them the rules and instill boundaries. They may not always like it when we do( A.K.A tantrum) but they really do need us to teach them right from wrong in a positive way.
Embrace the tantrum
Many adults get frustrated at toddler tantrums – but I say embrace them – they are part of family life with children. When you have a good understanding of why toddlers behave the way they do, it makes your ability to respond to them positively so much easier.
The peak age for toddler tantrum
The peak age for toddler tantrums is around 16 months to 3 years of age. This is due to the fact that children of this age are learning to understand that they might be able to influence our decisions by expressing themselves in a meaningful way. It is also to do with the fact that they are operating from their emotional control center in the brain which is why we see so many outbursts from our children.
They are also starting to understand that they have a place in the world, have opinions, thoughts and ideas about what they like or may want to do, and boy do they like to tell us all about it through their behaviour. Now more than ever, our children need us to be their emotional control centre. Their voice of reason and trusted adult who will stay with them as they learn to understand what all these emotions really mean.
Some important things to remember:
- Be empathetic to your child’s developing brain and ability to understand how the big wide world actually works. There is a lot to learn and this takes time and practise.
- Never give in to tantrums because it is easier – this will actually make life harder down the track.
- Try to remain aloof and do not let your emotions get the better of you when dealing with your toddler. Easier said than done I know, but the calmer we can be, the better for our child.
- Always offer love & cuddles if it will be accepted, but if it won’t be sure to stay close for when they might be ready.
- Never say “Calm down” to a tantruming toddler. Often we put kids in their room alone and say that they can come out when they calm down, but kids this age really don’t know how to do that yet. We have to teach them what calming down actually looks, feels and sounds like.
- There is no point trying to rationalise or talk to your toddler when they are in the middle of a trantrum. They are too emotionally overloaded to be taking in anything you are saying.
- Allowing children to throw things, trash their room, hurt people or break things during a tantrum is NEVER ok! We want our children to learn that whilst it is ok for them to feel angry or frustrated, it is also very important that everyone in the family remains safe.
- Never leave a restaurant or party because your child is throwing a tantrum. This gives our child the message that when things get tough, we evacuate. We want to be a family that sticks around in hard times to support each other.
Don’t punish for having a tantrum
And most importantly – we don’t need to punish our children for having tantrums or feeling big emotions. It is a part of growing up and learning.
If all else fails – a phrase that I find helpful at times is “Tantrums are VITAL for brain development.”
The next time your little one is going at it, just repeat this phrase to yourself and try to imagine how incredibly intelligent they are going to be in the future….. once you have taught them how to self regulate and become emotionally resilient that is!
Love Chrissie x x
Chaos To Calm Consultancy
Chaos To Calm Consultancy delivers workshops, private consultations, online resources and personalised consulting to parents and families who want to create emotionally healthy and happy lives! Chrissie takes the vulnerability, shame, guilt and doubt out of parenting. Rather turning it into a most powerful tool which can be used by parents throughout the different behavioural changes for a child.
Chrissie has over 15 years experience working with challenging children and their families. She is passionate about empowering parents to be able to make positive decisions in regards to their emotional health, relationships within the family unit and their child’s behaviour.
Through compassionate support, parents are encouraged and guided to identify, and then embrace the necessary changes needed to create a harmonious household for all members of the family.
Check out the various workshops available here.
NEXT: 22nd September – See the child, not the behaviour. See here.
Email Chrissie directly firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone : 0432 382 240
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