Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Take a deep breath: Why Toddlers throw Tantrums:

More than often, this can be the most common and only reason
By Expert Tips
Date: April 22 2016
Editor Rating:
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It goes without saying that, in the hierarchy of traumatic behaviors experienced by parents raising a toddler, is THE TANTRUM. How fascinating is it that they have the ability to choose what seems to be the worst time (usually in public or at bedtime) to have a meltdown. As I’m sure you’ve all gathered, the topic of today’s article has to do mainly with Exhaustion Tantrums and some reasons about WHY TODDLERS THROW TANTRUMS.
Tantrum are baffling and often incomprehensible. It is, indeed, difficult for us to fathom what our toddler thought was “gross” yesterday is good today. Don’t despair! Their actions and responses are considered by researchers and pediatric behavior experts to be perfectly normal.
At this stage of your toddlers’ lives, they are learning that they are separate from you and they are developing their own set of needs in their own time slots, these being totally out of sync with your timetable.
A huge trigger of a tantrum is exhaustion on the part of your toddlers. You may have collected the toddlers from crèche or playgroup; perhaps they did not get enough naptime, as all toddlers have varying needs in terms of Sleep. In comes the dreaded feeling of total fatigue for your toddler, who does not yet have the understanding of his feelings and even less the verbal acumen required to express them. So, instead of simply saying “I am tired” -  ‘KABOOM!”  –– TANTRUM TIME.
Your toddler throws a wobbly. It’s getting close to nap/ bed time. They holler and shriek, kick and scream at decibels way above that which we can actually hear. When you think that you have now reached your point of total frazzle, having coped with your other daily pressures and your toddler’s meltdown, they might take you to a level of tolerance above and beyond, merely by whining and whimpering and sometimes even simply refusing to move or respond to a reasonable request. This could make you want to throw your own tantrum. Please don’t!
The most effective way to deal with exhaustion is to get your child fed and ready for bed as quickly as possible in the calmest way you can muster. The tantrum could continue on a less assertive level as even though your toddler is over-tired he/she could resist going to sleep at the risk of missing some family action.
If frenzied outbursts become prevalent at nap or bed time, check that your toddler is getting enough rest during the day. Adjust nap times or discuss her napping habits with the crèche owner or caregiver. You could further make bedtime a little earlier.  Always bear in mind that, although your toddler may fight against sleep, SLEEP IS PRECISELY WHAT IS NEEDED IN THAT MOMENT.
Cheryl Fingleson works with families across a range of areas, including settling and sleep techniques, establishing a good routine, discipline in the home, transition from cot to bed, potty training, safe co-sleeping, and identifying signs of postpartum depression. She completed The Gentle Sleep Coach Program, the first and most extensive professional sleep coaching certification program available, as well as an exclusive advanced training series directly centered around how to gently work with babies 4 and 5 months of age. To know more, visit
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