Toddlers use tantrums every now and then because these are their means to get what they want and catch attention. However, tantrums are also a way for children to express their feelings because they may not seem to express them through verbal communication. If a child is throwing tantrums, they may have needs that have not been satisfied or might be feeling intense anxiety.
Tantrums are considered normal and even healthy in younger children because tantrums are signs of developing confidence, independence and their own personality. So when your toddler goes into a tantrum, you should not think that your child lacks discipline.
Parents find it hard when their toddlers are throwing tantrums, especially if they are in a public place. However, instead of going into a big conversation with your child while he is having a tantrum, the following tips may be used to make your child more cooperative:
1. Keep your instructions light and fun
Children tend to become negativistic. When you tell them to buckle their seatbelts, they won’t; and when you start to insist that they should do it, they tend to shout “No!” louder. Instead of debating with your child why he or she has to do it, you could make it a game by giving a reward to the person who buckles their belt first. Like this, you do not only gain their cooperation, but also prevent further tantrums.
The most common tip to manage a tantrum is to ignore the child. Some children go into tantrums when they insist on something they want and to gain your attention. Ignoring them shows that no matter what they do or no matter how loud they shout, you will never give in. Eventually, the child will stop their tantrums. However, make sure that you ensure their safety when you try to ignore them. For instance, make sure that they don’t bump their heads and that they can’t injure themselves if they are rolling around on the floor.
3. Give bribes
Bribes may not be appropriate if done excessively, but giving bribes when you think it is necessary is a good way to manage tantrums. For instance, if you are in a public place and safety becomes an issue when your child goes into a tantrum (running in the mall), you can make a few bribes like giving them chocolates or buying a small toy.
4. Shift the responsibility to a person trusted by your child
If you want your child to brush their teeth and they don’t want to, you can tell them, “The dentist says you have to brush your teeth three times a day.” This does not lead to further arguments because toddlers sometimes becomes more negativistic (doing the opposite that you say) with their parents, especially with their mothers.
5. Do not ask a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question
If you ask your child a yes or no question, they end up answering no, which leads you to repeat your instructions and that can eventually lead them to throwing tantrums. Instead, rephrase your statement in an active form such as: “It’s time to brush your teeth” or “It’s bedtime.” By saying things like this, you don’t give them the opportunity to say no, at least in some cases.
Parenthood is really a difficult job especially when you are confronted with “not-so-acceptable” behaviour of children. Nevertheless, there are ways to make your role a lot easier such as the above ways to deal with tantrums.
Posted by Pitt Goumas