Temper tantrums are among parenthood’s major annoyances; one minute your child is a lovable little angel and the next, he’s a nuclear reactor on a meltdown. Nevertheless, tantrums are something you have to deal with because they are part of a growing child’s life.
What causes tantrums? One of the main causes of tantrums is frustration. As mentioned, toddlers are still growing up and are still improving their physical and mental prowess; therefore, the world can be an overwhelming place for them. They want to do a lot of things because they are very curious and are excited about all there is to discover in their surroundings. But at the same time, children also live on routines. This means that if he doesn’t get to eat his merienda the same time as yesterday or if he fails to watch his favorite show on TV, this may resort to tantrums.
A child may also become frustrated at not being able to carry out a task; for instance, failing to prevent his stack of building blocks from falling over. Toddlers don’t yet know how to express their emotions and so resort to throwing tantrums.
On the other hand, a toddler may also start on a meltdown when he wants to manipulate you. Take note that if a child learns that to push your buttons through manipulative tantrums, it is something that should be corrected.
How to handle tantrums 1. Find out what triggers them. What are the things that set your child off? Do the tantrums happen when he’s bored or hungry? Do they happen when she’s tired from walking or is uncomfortable inside your car? Try to figure out what triggers the tantrums by making a mental note every time one happens or even better, by keeping a tantrum journal for a few days. By knowing the triggers, you’ll be able to intervene before your child explodes.
2. Frustration tantrums. If your child is having the tantrums because he’s frustrated, it is best to show empathy. This will help you win your child’s trust and it’s a great opportunity for some bonding too. You can help your child by acknowledging his frustration. For example you can say “I know you are hungry now,” or “I know you feel bad because your building blocks tower fell over.” Afterwards you can offer your child help; for instance, say “Mommy’s here to help you make you some sandwich,” or “Here, let me help you build your next tower.” A strong-willed kid may sometimes try to brush you aside and say he can do the task alone; however, do note that this is a chance for you to establish authority and build rapport with your kid. Try helping him out but still involve him in the task. When making a sandwich, for example, you can help by getting all the things he needs (e.g. bread, spread and pickles, cheese, etc.) and then you can let him try putting the ingredients together.
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