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Taking Charge When Your Toddler Throws a Tantrum

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ToddlerTantrum

There’s nothing more embarrassing than your toddler having a total emotional meltdown in public. But dealing with tantrums is part and parcel of being the parent of a two-year-old. Development psychologist Siew Ju Li dispenses advice on how to deal with those meltdown moments.

What do I do when my toddler throws a tantrum in public?

Allow yourself and your toddler to calm down. Get down to the toddlers level, hug or hold the toddler.

If necessary, remove toddler from the source of tantrum. (i.e. toy store). You can tell your toddler that you understand he is mad because… (e.g. he can’t have a toy), but today is not the day we’re gonna buy it. You may choose to distract the toddler. (i.e. “Let’s go for a meal instead.”)

If the toddler can speak, encourage them to express their feelings in words instead of tantrums. It’s important that we use such situations to help toddlers learn to channel their frustrations appropriately.

Toddlers tend to get fussy, cranky and stubborn quite easily. How do I handle a situation calmly?

Two-year-olds start to realise that they are able to be in control and make things happen. Thus, they are often perceived as being stubborn. To be calm, we need to understand where they are coming from.

In terms of food, they are exploring varieties. And just like adults, they have their preferences and dislikes.

When they toss their food aside, we could try to make their meal a fun time through stories (e.g. “Jack was running away from the Giant, in order for Jack to run he must be fast and strong…and he had his breakfast to make him fast and strong, just like you (name)! Oh, little (name) here’s your cereals to make you fast and strong like Jack! (Feed)…now you can run like Jack!”).

For parents who have explored the fun way and their toddlers are still resisting, I suggest that we let the toddlers be, but send a clear message. We can explain that if they do not eat or finish up their food, they will be hungry and there’ll only be food at the next meal time. Don’t give them any snacks in between, and let them wait till the actual next meal. It sounds mean, but you’ll be able to send the message that you are serious about them eating properly during meal times.

Was there ever a time you lost your temper with your little one? How did you handle it in the end?

Of course! I calmed myself, sat my child on my lap, cuddled and told her that I’m sorry I got so angry. We then made a deal, that mommy will be more patient and that she will try harder to obey. We hugged and I affirmed that I love her.

Image Credit: www.inhabitots.com.

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