Tantrums usually come around the beautiful, adventurous and stubborn age of two. But, they can too arrive as early as one and as late as 18. Ok, maybe not 18...but, they can seem to linger well into the ages they should be able to communicate a little better than before. And, that's exactly what tantrums tend to be: The inability to communicate how one feels due to an immense amount of overwhelming emotion.
Tantrums can spike over an incident; even those that seem mediocre; perhaps, minor issues that arise every day like dropping a food item on the floor or the frustration from hearing the word, "no." In order to make these tantrums disappear, it can feel near impossible when you're faced with them head-on. So, we have compiled a list of 10 things to help avoid them completely.
10 BRING DISTRACTIONS
In order to avoid the worst, you should be aware that distraction is a great tool to practice. Whether it's a quick trip to the grocery store or a play date at the park (which you'll know will be difficult to pull them away from), bring a distraction.
Whether this is a favorite toy, a water bottle to drink from, or a nutritious snack, it's ok to bring something to help the children re-focus. If it's a snack, ensure you don't feel as though it's a bribe. It should still be a convenient time to feed them while you continue on your day.
9 DO NOT SKIP NAP TIME
We know it can be hard, considering there are some days where time flies and nap time just seems to melt away in the distance. But, tantrums often occur more when the child is tired. It's important to keep a schedule and an eye out on the time. If your child is over-tired, they're more likely to "act up."
Who could blame them? Even as adults tend to be short-tempered when exhausted. So, don't be too hard on the kid. Just make sure they're well-rested before you go out on a big adventure to avoid bad moods and potential tantrums.
8 KEEP THEM WELL FED
Have you experienced becoming hangry? Well, your children do too. Often than not, when your child is upset they often settle with a quick, nutritious snack. And, if it happens to be a treat, so be it. Don't be too hard on yourself. We're all just trying to survive this thing we call 'parenthood,' so, we do what we can.
If that means grabbing a cupcake to curve their cravings and starvation until they can reach lunch, allow it. The last thing you need is a hungry child throwing the table because they're tired, starving and experiencing emotions they're unable to express.
7 REMOVE TRIGGERS
If you know what sets your child off, like big crowds or certain individuals, it may be best not to push triggers onto your young child and accept their emotions. Age permitting, you're always welcome to open a conversation up about what you're about to do and who you'll be around.
See how they react and if they're feeling "brave" or "ready" to experience the scenario. If not, it may be best to avoid it and not push them. Use your judgment, of course. You're the parent and you know your child the best; however, it can be hard not to try and encourage your child to "face their fears," though it may be best at certain times not to.
6 HAVE A HEART-TO-HEART
Age permitting, converse with your child. Discuss how they're feeling before you take them out knowing they may throw a fit. This could be a great opportunity to see how they're feeling. Often, parents assume the child's thoughts. But, very young children are able to decipher good feelings from the bad.
If you're lucky enough for them to communicate their feelings, you may be able to get in their heads and understand how they may react when you're out in public. Ideally, before the tantrum hits.
5 AVOID NEGATIVE INDIVIDUALS
This may be difficult if you notice bad energy coming from family members, close friends, or acquaintances, but it's important to be more in touch with who embraces your child's energy and who does not. Children pick up on far more than people believe. They feel moods much easier than we do.
If they're uncomfortable, they may not communicate it well considering their age. You may notice the children does not act themselves around negative people. This may result in tantrums. If so, it may be best to avoid certain individuals until and/or if they become comfortable around them.
4 BRING THEM TO CALM PLACES
If your child is the type of individual who is sensitive to high energy environments, they may throw tantrums for "unknown reasons." You may want to test the waters and see if you notice a pattern with this thought.
Do they tend to cry more in high volume public? Do they seem more agitated if you're at a busy mall? Try to avoid very busy places and encourage day trips to the library, out for walks or even to a family friend's house where they too have small children.
3 ALLOW THEM TO CHOOSE
Children love to be independent. They're used to adults making decisions for them all day long. So, when you're out in public, have them choose some things that you'd usually do yourself out of habit. This may be allowing them to choose between a red or yellow bell pepper from the grocery store.
Or, if you're out purchasing them new underwear, have them grab which color they'd prefer. These simple choices make a world of difference. If they are feeling a bit in-control of their situations, they may be less likely to throw a tantrum.
2 KEEP THE ENERGY LIGHT
We know parenting is not an easy gig. We are not perfect and we also have big emotions that come and go. So, it's important to keep the energy light for both our children and ourselves. If we are tense, the child will likely feel our stressful energy. Unable to appropriately cope with big feelings, your child may throw a tantrum.
By changing the mood of the room, your child may be able to shift gears and feel more calm, more comfortable. Sometimes, it's all up to the parent's/guardian's energy to avoid tantrums.
1 ACCEPT YOU CAN NOT CONTROL IT ALL
Here's the kicker: Tantrums will happen. Sometimes, there's nothing you can do. When they do occur, be there for them. Offer love, patience, and a hug. Tantrums are simply big emotions that are not being communicated well. Keep in mind their age, too. Toddlers and children are incredibly smart little people. But, they are coping with the emotions of children.
We can not expect them to be able to handle it all. You may think- "they're smart enough to help fold laundry, so why can't they just tell me they're tired?" But keep in mind their age and what's expected of them. So, to avoid tantrums, be sympathetic and loving. By avoiding high energy moments, sometimes we must let go and accept the moment.