It seems to happen over night, something changes and your once sweet little baby turns into a kicking, screaming toddler. The word “no” sends him into fits, rolling on the floor and screaming at volumes you thought to be impossible. Your first instinct is to stop the tantrum by any means possible, which is often giving in to your child’s demands. While this will temporarily solve your problem, it will lead to more in the future.
While I by no means have a solution that is 100% effective every time, I have found a solution that helps me to feel like I am being a sympathetic without giving in to the tantrum.
Step 1: Answer your child firmly, yet gently.
Step 2: Do not react in anger, simply respond firmly but with love and empathy. I will often give them a hug and explain in very simple terms why they cannot do or have what they want.
Steps one and two aren’t likely to stop a tantrum. You will usually have to move on to step 3.
Step 3: Use time out! It is about the time when my children begin to throw tantrums that I begin using time out as a method of discipline. Again, when utilizing time out, do not react with anger, but gently place them on time out (we use a corner in our house). Time out should not last longer than 1 minute per year of age.
In a perfect world, this would be the end of the tantrum, but that is not always the case. You may have to start over again at step one. While this may be time consuming and incredibly frustrating, your child is learning more by being told no than being given all that they want.
You may also encounter times when it is more difficult to find a spot for time out. I have been known to sit my child in an out of the way corner at church or at the grocery store. The key is to be firm and not give in. The toddler years are filled with tantrums, but they are also filled with a sweetness that seems to fade and change along with the tantrums as your toddler becomes a full fledged preschooler.
Posted by Christine of Random Thoughts With Chris