Toddlers can inspire joy yet also be a source of anger and frustration. This is because it’s sometimes difficult to reign in your toddler. It’s however not impossible. Below are some ways to keep your toddlers’ behavior on track.
Stick to the rules you’ve set and follow through with the consequences. For instance, if you’ve set time-out as a consequence of bad behavior, make sure you enforce it; otherwise, your child will view your warnings as empty threats and undermine your authority. Without consistency, your child will likely not stick to the set rules.
Since you have to follow through on the warning, it’s also important to only issue warnings which you’re ready to enforce. Ensure also that your behavior is impeccable because children learn a lot from observing adults
The natural curiosity of toddlers makes them want to explore the world. It’s therefore wise to keep the tempting items, which you don’t want them to get a hold of out of their reach.
If your toddler’s attention is set on something dangerous or unacceptable, be calm, say “no”, then either distract him/her with something else or move the child away from the area. It’s also important not to overreact when the child heads towards forbidden objects. Instead of hitting or spanking your child, employ other ways of disciplining your child such as time-outs. Timeouts are an effective discipline tool where you need to take a hard line with your toddler. Explain why a particular behavior is unacceptable then take the child to an area designated for timeout for a few minutes.
The above methods help teach your child what behavior is acceptable. However, even the toddlers with the most impeccable behavior throw tantrums every now and then. It’s better to avoid tantrums.
How to prevent temper tantrums
There are strategies that can be employed to keep toddlers from having temper tantrums:
- Determine whether the tantrum is just an attention seeking tool.
- Reward good behavior.
- Relinquish some control in minor instances. Let your toddler make minor choices that give them a sense of control and fulfill the need for some independence. For instance, offer several choices of healthy foods and let the child pick what he prefers.
- Give your child age-appropriate toys and play appropriate games. If trying a new task, start with simple tasks and don’t push your child’s limits. If he/she is tired, don’t try to squeeze in more activity.
- Choose your battles. Consider your child’s request and determine if it’s outrageous. If you can, accommodate the child’s request.
When your best efforts to prevent tantrums fail, here are some pointers on how to handle them.
- Stay calm and try to provide comfort. Showing your frustration will make the situation worse.
- Ignore the tantrum. If the child’s outburst poses no threat, remain in the area but pay no attention to him/her. If however there’s danger of the child or someone else getting hurt, move the child to a safer environment and let her calm down.
- Don’t reward tantrums by giving in to the demands. You don’t want your child to think tantrums are effective communication tools. Instead, calm her down and verbally praise her ability to show self-control.
- Tantrums tend to reduce as children develop language skills. However, if handling the tantrums is proving too difficult, seek advice.