Toddler Tantrums: Why they happen & how to avoid them

Toddler tantrums can range from whining and crying to screaming, kicking, hitting, and even stomping feet and breath holding. And they’re very common between the ages of 1 to 3.

Some toddlers may have tantrums often, and others have them rarely. Tantrums are a normal part of your toddler’s development and are the way they show they’re upset, frustrated or simply a way to assert their independence. If you are worried that you’re raising a tyrant, don’t be! At this age your little one isn’t throwing a fit to be manipulative, but having a meltdown in response to frustration.

Tantrums may happen when your toddler is tired, hungry, or uncomfortable; or because they can’t get something or do what they want. Learning to deal with frustration is a skill that your toddler will gain over time.

Why they happen

At this age their language skills are starting to develop and because they can’t express what they want, feel, or need, this can frustrate them and may cause a tantrum. They want independence and control over their environment; more than they may be capable of handling. This can lead to power struggles as your toddler thinks “I can do it myself” or “I want it, give it to me.” And when they discover that they can’t do it and can’t have everything they want, it may result in a tantrum.

Avoiding Tantrums

If at all possible, it’s best to try to prevent tantrums from happening in the first place. Here are some ideas that may help:

Lots of attention.

Get in the habit of giving your toddler lots of praise when they are being good.

Out of sight, out of mind.

If your little one can’t see something that is off limits, then they won’t be able to want it. Just make sure the stuff that they can’t have is hidden/secured away, out of sight, and out of reach!

Take advantage of your little one’s short attention span by offering something else in place of what they can’t have. Start a new activity to replace the frustrating or forbidden one. Or simply change the environment. Take your toddler outside or inside or move to a different room.

Pick your battles.

Is that request really outrageous? Maybe it isn’t. Choose your battles; and accommodate when you can.

Know your toddler’s limits.

If you know your toddler is tired, then it’s not the best time to go grocery shopping or try to squeeze in one more errand.

Remember, tantrums aren’t cause for concern, and as your toddler learns and grows, they gain self-control. They learn to cooperate, communicate, and cope with frustration. Less frustration and more control mean fewer tantrums (and happier parents!). Just hang in there!

If you would like some advice on coping with toddler tantrums why not contact our Careline.