There are many misconceptions about the toddler years. These years are often associated with temper tantrums and wilful children. Having some insight into why these tantrums happen, however, can really help you to deal with them effectively and even to minimise them.
Understanding the world from a toddler's perspective
Toddlers are often very frustrated little people. Consider how it must feel to discover something new, only to be told repeatedly that you cannot touch it, taste it or play with it. It isn't surprising then that some toddlers lose their patience and express it in the only way they know how: loudly.
Dealing with toddler frustration
The first rule of thumb is to avoid situations or circumstances that might lead to a meltdown. There are many ways to approach this but good tips include:
1. Keep any objects that you don’t want your toddler to touch away. This avoids having to say no each time your toddler displays their curiosity.
2. Keep triggers in mind when planning your day with your toddler. Many toddlers have even more trouble dealing with their frustration when they are tired or hungry.
One of the great things about toddlers is that you can distract them quite easily. If your toddler is frustrated and upset try shifting their attention to something else: a new toy, a new activity, etc. Most toddlers will quickly forget what they were so upset about.
Another reason that toddlers show their frustration loudly is because they don't have many other ways of expressing themselves yet. Helping toddlers to develop their vocabulary by naming their feelings when they are frustrated will help them learn that there are other ways to let you know how they feel. Just remember to keep it simple. Bend down to their eye level and say things like: "I know you are upset but that is dangerous".
Remember that there are two sides to toddlers. While they can be a handful during those temper tantrums, watching the dramatic and miraculous learning curve that takes place during the terrific toddler years will help all parents deal with this challenging time.
What's your experience with tantrums?