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It’s time to leave the playground and your toddler throws himself on the ground in protest. You feel like all eyes are on you as you drag your crying child from to the car. Believe it or not, you’re not alone!
If you’re trying to use some positive parenting techniques to work through the inevitable tantrums, or at least melt downs, toddlers go through, read on for some ideas!
State the facts
Using correct grammar, simply state what is going on. Instead of saying, “Mommy really wants Timmy to come to the car now”, say, “I will not let you stay on the playground anymore. We are going to the car now.” I’ve found starting statements with, “I will…” has really helped with turning behaviors around, perhaps because it’s clearly stating my expectations.
You might think by giving warnings that I am suggesting to give multiple chances. That’s not at all the case! By giving warnings, I simply mean give a 5 minute, or even a 10 minute, warning when the situation is about to change. Also, having some sort of cue helps tremendously with toddlers. I often set the timer on my phone. I’ll tell my son, “In 5 minutes, we are leaving for the store. I’ll set the timer and when you hear the duck, we are leaving.” You’d be surprised at how he responds when he hears the timer go off!
Don’t expect perfection
Your toddler is going to have good days and bad days like the rest of us. Try to watch for the good in your child and model behaviors you like to see. If you treat your toddler with respect and as another human by explaining situations and giving realistic expectations, you’ll find your toddler having fewer and fewer tantrums.
Routine, Routine, Routine
You’ve probably heard it before and I’m going to say it again—toddlers thrive on routine. Having a consistent schedule of when they nap, eat, snack and go to bed is the number-one most important thing you can do for your child. Toddlers are going through so many changes—from language development to fine tuning motor skills—that keeping a routine gives them something consistent and familiar, which will improve behaviors.
It’s important to start giving your child choices early in life where there isn’t a wrong choice. This way, they are learning to make their own decisions while always making the “right” choice. Here are some examples:
- Do you want an apple or banana for snack?
- You can walk holding my hand or I can carry you to the car.
- Would you like to wear your whale shirt or lion shirt?
Allowing your toddler to make choices will encourage him or her to be more independent while feeling as if he or she has control of the situation. Toddlers take pride in their choices and actions!
A major reason toddlers throw temper tantrums is because they can’t communicate their needs effectively. One of the most effective ways I’ve found to help a toddler communicate when they’re frustrated is to teach them to ask for help. If your child isn’t speaking enough to say “help” verbally, teach them to sign it. Toddlers get frustrated when they can’t complete a task or communicate their needs. Asking for help can prevent the tempter tantrums that come with frustration.
Read more suggestions on coping with toddler tantrums in these other articles: