It is a universal truth that all toddlers scream, to some extent or another. Dealing with toddler tantrums is part of the course when you have toddlers. It’s just sometimes, it seems overwhelming, overpowering, unmanageable.
Toddler Tantrums Happen
Post nap time is our danger zone. One or the other of my toddler twins often wakes up screaming. It’s as if…the world is just not right. They are not pleased.
Today was Sebastian’s turn. He woke up, came down stairs and turned in to a gremlin.
Or Mr Hyde.
Or the incredible hulk.
I offer him a hug. The decibels go up. I retreat. Nothing seems to placate him.
How dare you offer me a biscuit?
We have gone beyond the point of distraction.
I pick him up to take him out. He’s like a wild cat, he gouges and scratches and flails. It’s difficult not to feel that spark of anger when someone rips your face to shreds.
I remind myself that he is 2.
I remind myself that these things happen.
I remind myself that I am not a bad mother (or at least I hope I’m not. It kind of feels like it right now.)
I remind myself that he is 2 and emotions happen.
I remind myself again that I am not a bad mother.
I remind my husband that we are not bad parents.
How to Deal With Toddler Tantrums
- Stay Calm. I know this is so easy to say and so difficult to do when your child is smacking you in the face.
- Be Consistent. Be consistent in how you behave and how you expect them to behave. There is nothing more confusing to young children that rules and expectations that change all the time.
- Don't Pander the Tantrum. If they are having a tantrum because they want a biscuit and you've said "No!" Don't give in and give them the biscuit. You'll only teach them that having a tantrum is the way to get what they want.
- Know your Child. Different children handle emotions in different ways. One of my twins likes to be left alone to calm down. She calms down in about 2 seconds after I've left her alone. She sucks her thumb and jumps up with a smile on her face. Her twin brother likes to have a cuddle to calm down. Both are fine.
- Offer Cuddles.Tantrums are often a physical expression of their frustrations. Adrenalin surges and the "flight or fight" response is triggered. If your child wants a cuddle to help calm down that's fine.
- Don't Blame Yourself. The roller coster ride of toddler emotions can leave parents feeling exhausted and blaming themselves. Toddlers have emotions. Fact. You can not protect your toddlers from all the tantrums in the world. You are not to blame.
- Ask for Help. If you're lucky enough to have help at hand, use it!
- Find a Self Calming Technique. I'm talking about you here! The second your toddler has stopped crying, they are off having fun as if nothing has happened. You however, are feeling like you've just been training for guerrilla war fare. You need to shake off the emotion and get back into "calm and happy". Put on some music, run around the garden, take 5 minutes to rest if you can. Find a system that works for you.
It is a universal truth that toddlers have tantrums.
It is a universal truth that toddlers shout and scream, shout some more.
And then they stop. For no apparent reason at all.
Just like the start of the toddler tantrum.
A few hours later my toddler is giggling and laughing. It’s difficult to believe he’s the same child.
I know that whilst I still feel those feathers of emotion, he has long forgotten them. He’s busy enjoying the day as if he never even had a toddler tantrum at all.