There is nothing quite like a toddler having a tantrum. We have all experienced it, both with our own children and with our friends' kids and the little ones in our family. Sometimes we want to have a tantrum right alongside them because we don't feel up to dealing with this right now... and other times, we wonder why our normally sweet toddler is acting like a totally different person.
Of course, this is the age when we expect that little ones are going to act like this, so we do expect it (even if we wish that it wasn't a thing). It just goes to show that there are certain things that are milestones and always happen during childhood that we would never do as adults. While we would definitely enjoy screaming and jumping around when we don't get our way or are told no or have to eat a healthy dinner instead of ice cream, we know we have to smile and be mature.
There are a lot of ways to deal with tantrums and there are also things that just don't cut it. Read on to find out 15 hacks to mitigating toddler tantrums, along with five things that moms don't want to try because they don't work.
20 Two Choices Only
Parents who were profiled in Kids Spot decided to give their daughter two choices (like two types of cereal, for example) instead of giving her lots of open-ended choices.
The mom wrote, "I know they seem like small changes but no joke, Harper’s behavior changed straight away. She was a different child. She became happier, more relaxed and the tantrums decreased significantly. She preferred having parents who were in charge."
Sounds awesome, doesn't it? The best kinds of tips are ones that are simple to implement in our lives, and this is definitely one of those. Having only two decisions to make is such a great idea.
19 Nature, Please
As Lifehack says, "Being cooped up inside all day is a recipe for grumpiness. Break the rut and go for a walk outside."
Many of us love being outside and think that nature can do so much for us. It can do a lot for our little one as well. We know that little kids need to run and play outside and get rid of some energy and so this makes a lot of sense. Whenever our toddler is having a tantrum, we should go outside if we can. (And even when they're acting perfectly fine, remember they love being outside.)
18 Food Is The Answer
Living and Loving suggests having food for our toddler when they are having a tantrum. Does it get any smarter than that? Not really. This is the best idea ever. Moms know that having food in their purses and bags is basically part of the mom rule book.
From fruit to nuts (if your child isn't nut-free and has an allergy, of course) to granola bars and pieces of cheese, your kid is always up for some food.
Giving them something to eat can definitely stop the tantrum and it's logical since sometimes tantrums can be brought on by hunger.
17 Doesn't Work: Have A Tantrum, Get A Cookie
Have a tantrum, get a cookie. This is something that is super common and that we see all of the time. Before we become moms, we probably think that this is a good way to deal with a tantrum since it works so well. After all, kids love cookies (and anything sugar, really) and they're going to stop the tantrum and eat it and smile again.
As Natural Born Mommy says, this isn't the best thing to do in this situation. Don't give your toddler a cookie or something of that nature when they're having a tantrum. You don't want them to think that is always going to happen.
16 Even Celebs Deal With Tantrums
Do we think that celebrities are such perfect parents that their kids never have tantrums?
It's easy to think that way... but it's definitely not the truth. As Motherly shared, Drew Barrymore has a great way to deal with tantrums from toddlers. What is it? Blowing bubbles. She loves this incredible advice from The Seedlings Group: "You cannot tantrum if you are breathing and you cannot blow bubbles without breathing. You can't tantrum while smiling and you can't catch bubbles without lots of smiles. Quick distraction to get back to calm."
If we weren't already big fans of the actress, now we are.
15 Negotiation Skills Put To Use
When this mom, who shared her awesome tip on Reddit, knows that her kid wants cookies and she's not going to give them to her, she has a great trick by making sure she feels understood and then tells her when she'll have cookies. She says,
“I hear you, but the problem is that it’s not time for cookies right now. Would you rather have grapes or apples for snack?”
She explains this and then tells her when she can eat a cookie. She said, "People, and toddlers are people, really hate to feel misheard or dismissed. And they really love knowing when they’ll be able to have what they want."
Isn't this genius?!
14 A Hack For Toys
Living And Loving suggests telling your toddler that you can race them to clean up the toys because they'll say that they can do it fast and that will work.
What mom hasn't struggled with trying to get their little one to help clean up? Or stop getting upset when they ask them to please put their toys away or be in a better mood?
It's awesome to have practical advice for something like a toddler tantrum that we know is going to happen from time to time. This idea of racing to clean up the toys is something that we can all use.
13 Doesn't Work: Getting Mad
Baby Center says that getting mad isn't the way to deal with a tantrum, either. A mom who has a toddler son said,
"I found the more I shouted at Brandon to stop, the wilder he would get."
Instead, they would sit together, which is a great way to deal with a tantrum and sounds like a nice way to turn that into a sweet, mother/child bonding moment.
This is awesome advice for anything that we're dealing with. We know that getting mad doesn't really solve anything, but that's particularly true when we're dealing with a parenting dilemma or situation.
12 Wait It Out
You want to wait for your toddler to chill out before talking to them about what's going on, according to Bright Horizons. When we think about it, there are some aspects of parenting that can totally apply to us adults, too.
If we're talking to our husband/wife or a good friend or even a sibling, for instance, we know that talking to them when they're upset isn't going to do much good.
It's much better and more productive to wait for them to be in a happier, more peaceful mood. See? Toddlers aren't that different from the rest of us, after all.
11 Keep Them In The Know
Childhood 101 says that when you're about to go somewhere with your kid and are leaving the house, or are about to do something else other than whatever you're doing, you should always talk to your toddler. Letting them know what's going on should help stop a toddler's tantrum in its tracks. It makes a lot of sense when we stop and think about it.
A lot of the time, a toddler will be frustrated that they didn't know that it was time to go to daycare or a friend's house or even the grocery store.
When they know what's going on, they might feel more at ease.
10 Pick Your Battles
Bright Horizons suggests that you "choose your battles" when your little one is having a tantrum. The publication says, "When your child wants something, consider the request carefully. Is it outrageous? Maybe it isn't. Choose your battles and accommodate your child when you can."
This is good news for any mom who wonders if sometimes, their kid is actually right to be asking for whatever they're asking for... even if, sure, the way that they're asking isn't what they would prefer. Maybe your toddler wants an apple and while you're thrilled that they're asking for that, you wish that they weren't whining.
9 Doesn't Work: Giving In
Giving in isn't the way to deal with toddler tantrums, either, even though it might seem like the best and simplest thing to do. This is definitely something that kids and adults have in common: if our partner or friend wants to go to a certain restaurant, for example, and we give in, they're going to be happy. The same thing will happen if we give into our toddler.
Natural Born Mommy gives this awesome advice:
"Ultimately, you want your child to learn that temper tantrums or “bad” behaviors are not effective ways to get what he wants. So try not to let your child get what he wants out of the tantrum (at least not until he can communicate more calmly)."
8 They Love To Mimic
It's a good idea to be calm so your toddler will be calm too. Child Mind says that it's great for your toddler to see you acting that way. This is a really smart tip.
All moms know that children are masters at mimicking what their parents do. That's why it can be so hilarious when we hear our kid swearing or saying something that is a super grown-up expression. Sure, we know that we shouldn't be laughing, and we'll tell them that's not language that they should be using, but we can't help but at least crack a smile.
7 A Laughing Matter
How about laughing with your toddler when you realize that this is another temper tantrum?
This advice comes from What To Expect and it's something that many moms would be happy to do. How would you typically respond to the temper tantrum? You might wonder if you should ask your toddler why they're upset or acting this way, or tell them to stop, or tell them that you don't like this behavior. While maybe those will work, it also works to turn this into a fun moment between the two of you, and your toddler will feel so much better.
6 Look Over Here
Distracting your toddler is an awesome way to deal with a tantrum. We can all relate to that since we could all do with being distracted every once in a while. If we're worried about something or waiting for an important phone call, for example, we're going to be much happier if we take a deep breath and do something else. Lifehack suggests distracting your toddler and says,
"When you see the signs of a tantrum building, nip it in the bud… point out an interesting bug, change the subject, whip out your secret stash of bubbles."
This is such a great idea and will absolutely work.
5 Doesn't Work: Swept Under The Rug
According to Motherly, another thing that you shouldn't do when your toddler is having a tantrum is to act like they aren't having a tantrum at all.
This makes sense since you would never act that way about something else that your child is going through. If your child is a bit older and is having trouble with a particular subject at school or is being treated unkindly by a classmate or so-called friend, you wouldn't act like that wasn't happening, right? The same thing applies here. Saying to yourself that, yes, they're having a tantrum is the way to go.
4 Game Time
What To Expect says that having your toddler play a game with you will help, and that's definitely a great tip. Who wouldn't feel better after playing a game?
Moms agree that the tough thing about toddler tantrums is getting them to focus on something else, so playing a game is an amazing way to get them to do just that.
Plus, your toddler will be grinning and laughing in no time, and you'll be glad that you figured out how to stop a tantrum. It's a great tip to have in your parenting arsenal for the next time that this happens (since, of course, you know that it will).
3 Cuddle Time
A mom who posted on Reddit said that sometimes cuddling helped. She wrote, "So I would sit there and sometimes they wanted to be cuddled, sometimes not. I would try to help her name her rage ("you're so mad, so mad")."
What don't we feel better about after a little (or big) cuddle? Sometimes, nothing will calm us down like hugging the person that we love, so it makes sense that our toddlers would feel the same sense of happiness, peace, relief, and comfort from us giving them some attention and cuddling them. Awww. We can just see this sweet little moment now.
2 Know Why
Why is your toddler acting like this? It might be easy to think that there is no reason and that this is just how little ones act sometimes, but there could be a legitimate reason.
As Child Mind says, figure out what is causing the tantrums so you can figure it out and prevent it when you can.
We all know that there's a lot of pressure to have perfection in all aspects of our lives these days, so don't get too caught up in that, but it can be helpful to wonder why your kid is acting like this.
1 Doesn't Work: Tired Toddler
We know that when toddlers are tired and in need of some food, they're more likely to act a certain way (aka they're going to have a temper tantrum). Of course, we can relate because we all get hangry, too (though we know not to stomp our feet or whine... hopefully).
As a mom shared on Reddit, if your toddler is tired or needs to eat, then there is nothing that you can do to stop the tantrum. They wrote, "Don't leave the house if she'll become hungry or tired while you're gone. Alert her before and during transition (in 5 minutes it's bath time). Pay attention to overstimulation and too much sugar." It's really great advice.
Now that we know how to deal with toddler temper tantrums, we feel so much better, don't we?