How Can I Minimize Toddler Tantrums?

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Answered by: Elena, An Expert in the Discipline and Behavior Category
Scared to go to the grocery store out of fear that your toddler will break out in a tantrum? Tired of the constant use of bribery to get through simple tasks without a major meltdown? Ah the joys of having of a toddler!

If you are reading this article, you have probably found yourself embarrassed, frazzled and left exhausted by that little emotional roller coaster called a toddler. These pint-sized creatures have a way of turning even the most calm and collected parents into stressed out, run-down messes. Your once quiet, sweet baby is now a high maintenance, demanding toddler. Those cute little coos have been replaced with atrocious whining. So how do you go about minimizing toddler tantrums?

It's important to understand that toddlers aren't equipped with the ability to control their emotions. Their emotional immaturity does not allow for them to understand exactly what they are feeling and how to appropriately display their feelings for others around them to interpret. They want what they want and will kick, scream and shout until their demands are met in a timely fashion. This isn't so convenient for those caring for these emotionally unstable tots, but with a little patience and understanding we can start to minimize the tantrums and meltdowns.

So how do we handle these tumultuous tots and their tantrums? It's tempting to give in to your toddler to stop the incessant whining and complaining (or embarrassment at the checkout line), but this will only prolong the undesirable behavior and, instead of minimizing toddler tantrums, you will probably notice an increase in this dreaded behavior. You know the expression...give them an inch and they will take a mile? That applies even with toddlers. They may be lacking in their emotional sophistication, but they can spot a sucker from a mile away. Give in to their tantrums now and you'll be doing it until they are headed off to college.

Instead, take this new understanding that they just can't articulate their feelings and adjust your dealings with your toddler. Empathize with your child. They need reassurance that everything is going to be okay and that you understand how they are feeling. It's best not to try to reason with them as you would an adult; this will only upset and confuse them further and will likely lengthen the duration of the meltdown.

Remember, toddlers aren't in control of all their emotions or much else in their lives so you need to give them some things that they can control. Find something small like picking out their outfit or shoes...something that you can live with the outcome and allow them to feel like they are controlling an aspect in their ever-growing world. Make them feel like they are helping you make an important decision and try to do this often throughout the day.

Additionally, make use of distraction. If you are brave enough to go back to the grocery store with your child, have them help you search for particular items or distract them by playing a classic game of I Spy. Distraction can go a long way! Children go through many, many stages. Rest assured that once you master minimizing toddler tantrums, your child will be on to a whole new phase. So for now, a little patience and understanding along with a few tricks up your sleeve will go a long way with your toddler! They grow up so fast - buckle up and enjoy the ride!

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