Stop them before they start
Experts say that tantrums are easier to prevent than stop. Why? When toddlers are calm, they can focus on building the skills they need to express themselves with language instead of throwing a fit. “Many young children who throw a tantrum can’t fully express what they want and need,” explains Mary Barera, PhD, board certified behavior analyst, and author of More Talking, Less Tantrums. “The key is to spend 95 percent of the time preventing tantrums by focusing on teaching easy language and learning tasks.” Of course, as busy parents know, it’s not always easy to watch your kids like a hawk when you’re cooking dinner, folding the laundry, or sneaking in an email, so read on…
As the adult, your role in the heat of a meltdown is to be the voice of reason, keeping your cool even when you are running out of patience. Whatever you do, don’t join in with your toddler and their hysterics. “Parents need to stay calm and centered so they don’t feed into the tantrums and hysteria,” says Judith Orloff, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and author of The Empath’s Survival Guide. “The calmer you stay, the shorter the tantrum will be.” Here are 24 tips to help you keep your temper in check.