How to Handle Temper Tantrums

Toddler-hood is a time of rapid learning, newfound independence, boundary pushing, and of course, the dreaded tantrums. It can be embarrassing to be the one in the grocery store or on the airplane when your toddler transforms from sweetheart to fire breathing dragon, but rest assured, it's perfectly normal. How should you handle these temper tantrums?

First, assess the underlying cause.

Many times, the toddler's emotional state is already compromised before the tantrum is triggered. Are they hungry? Tired? Over stimulated? Under Stimulated? If you can find the root of the problem, then you may be able to get it under control. You can also prevent these tantrums by trying to anticipate them. Bring snacks with you, pretty much everywhere. Try to avoid difficult tasks if your toddler had a rough night of sleep. If you have a busy afternoon planned, take it easy in the morning to avoid over-stimulation. Make sure your toddler is getting adequate energy burning time.

Talk them through it. 

The reason that tantrums happen is because toddlers don't have the mental capacity to handle big emotions nor do they have the ability to verbalize their feelings. As parents, we can help talk them through their feelings. For instance, "I know you are feeling angry because we had to leave the park. I get sad when the fun has to end too. But it's not okay to scream about it. We will get to come back another day." Stay calm and soothing. It's hard not to get frustrated sometimes, but doing so would only escalate the behavior.

Don't reward the negative behavior.

If they are throwing a fit because they are not getting their way, do not give in. If you said they could not have that cookie, do not give them that cookie to make the crying stop. That only reinforces the idea that throwing a tantrum will get them their way. Stick to your guns and try to redirect. Maybe they can't have that cookie right now, but they can choose from a couple different nutritious snacks instead. 

Know that it's only a phase.

They are only toddlers for 2 years. It will end some day. The days are long but the years are short. In the meantime, give them the tools and the words to tell you how to feel and express their emotions in a healthy way. 

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About Coffee and Wine Mom

Maddi Casey is a muscle car driving, hard working mama who is obsessed with football and good beer. She has two beautiful baby girls and loving husband. Writing is a passion, hobby and sometimes career of hers at She is also passionate about animals, nature and entrepreneurship.
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