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Toddler Tantrums/Terrible Two's, how to manage them

What to do when your little person has a tantrum or a meltdown

As parents/Carers, we all know the scenario of the little person having a meltdown. Isn't it always at the wrong time? Actually, Is there ever a right time?

And how many times do we react in a way that isn't helpful? This is easily done when you're tired, in a hurry, in a public place or feeling stressed, and frustrating also when the day is going well.

These tantrums are often referred to as the 'terrible two's but let's face it meltdowns can happen in older years too. The more we are prepared the better the outcome.

Tip #1 - Hug your child

Hugging your little person is the most important and helpful thing you can do for them and yourself!

The physical contact and the holding space you offer work well for both of you to take a moment to regulate your emotions and calm down.

Taking that moment to sit with or scooping up your little person for a hug you are helping to activate the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with trust, safety, and love.

I know, it's not always convenient however in the long run it saves time and a lot of emotion.

Tip #2 - Hugging a child in a tantrum does not reinforce bad behaviour

Many adults worry that hugging a child who is having a tantrum will reinforce bad behavior but this is wrong! They are not being stubborn or trying to ruin everyone else’s day.

When a toddler has an emotional tantrum, they are releasing emotions in response to something in their environment, they are usually confused or overstimulated, or overwhelmed, remember they have only been here for a short time and are still learning.

"The presence of tantrums doesn't mean that my kid is a brat, it just means he's still learning" – Paula Rollo

Tip #3 - Put yourself in their shoes

I want you to imagine for a second how it would be if you were feeling really overwhelmed, upset, and confused and the person you looked to for support told you to stop, got cross at you, shouted at you, walked away from you, or even punished you?

Imagine, you have all these big emotions that have taken over and you don't know why or what's happening, and you are made to feel like you have done something wrong

How awful would that feel?

Now imagine the big emotions arrive and someone sits with you or scoops you up for a hug and talks to you kindly and gently until you are able to express what you want or how you feel?

Do you notice how different that feels?

I know at that moment we can get caught off guard and react negatively yet we can learn to catch ourselves if we can take a breath, tune in to them and put ourselves in their shoes.

Tip #4 - Positive alternative phrases to calm your child

It is easy to use harsh words or a punitive tone when our children have a tantrum.

Using a softened tone will have more of a calming effect.

Here are some alternative phrase examples you can try;

Tip #5 - Your Child's behaviour says nothing about you as a parent

The sign of amazing parenting is not how the child behaves it is how the parents behave.

Your child's behaviour is just part of growing up and learning.

Your biggest job is to manage your own responses to your child

We are all humans having a human experience!!

Remember we are all humans and we make mistakes and we learn and every time is another chance to do it better than before, with practice it becomes easier and eventually hopefully second nature, so please, if you mess up don't beat yourself up, apologise and try again

The little one will appreciate you owning your mistakes and they will learn to do the same.

Most of all, treasure every moment, they grow so fast!!

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