Toddler Tantrums – 3 top tips to avoid a meltdown

You’re already running late, it’s time to get to nursery and she is glued to CBeebies. Without a thought, you reach for the remote – flick the off button and you enter….

Full scale….meltdown!

But, don’t lose your rag, just remember these 3 top tips for keeping it together ….when she is losing it!

As you may have noticed, some children do not have the words to talk about how they are feeling, instead they will act out these emotions in very physical, and sometimes inappropriate ways:

“When my two year old gets really angry she will throw toys around the room or bump her head on the floor– I’m always worried she will hurt herself” – Carly, Macclesfield

In this situation there are 3 key things you can do to stay sane during toddler tantrums.

1. Stay Safe

Two year olds are unable to hit their heads with enough force to actually hurt themselves, unless it is against a sharp surface. Make sure your child is safe, but don’t fuss. You could try putting a pillow under their head or moving them to a carpeted area of the house.

If possible, ignore the behaviour. As your child learns they are not getting what they want from exhibiting anger in a physical way, they are more likely to stop

You may choose to leave a favourite toy or blanket with them – so they can use it to soothe themselves. Keep an eye on your child but indulging the behaviour, or getting angry and frustrated yourself will make it worse.

2. Stay calm

it is difficult not to become, frustrated upset or angry when your child is behaving in this way. But you must try and keep a cool head.

Here’s how: go into another room, take a deep breath through your nose (count to 8). Let the breath go slowly through your mouth. Do this at  3 times while concentrating on creating a space between your head and your shoulders.

Feel calmer?  return to the situation with a level head, make sure she is safe and then acknowledge her emotions.

3. Acknowledge how she feels

 It is so important that you acknowledge her feelings. If the toddler tantrums are started by you turning off the TV. Say, ‘I know you are angry, it’s ok to feel angry but we need to turn off Peppa because we are going to nursery’.

  • Here,  you have acknowledged her emotions – I know you are angry
  • Provided her with a label for her emotion ‘angry’
  • Used repetition to reinforce word and concept learning – said angry more than once
  • Given her a reason: ‘because we need to go to nursery’ if you explain why you have done this in a reasonable way she will develop her understanding of how others around her are thinking and feeling.

A final thought?  – Children are less likely to have a tantrum and act out in a physical way when we teach them how to tell us how they feel. 

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