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Toddler Temper Tantrums

Tantrums can be difficult for any parent, so here are some helpful, practical tips and skills to aid you in dealing more effectively with your toddler tantrums.

Tantrums can occur out of a need to express frustration due to limited language skills, or a need to get attention (even negative attention). Most of the time we will respond angrily, making the child feel acknowledged, which in turn can make them feel that the tantrum has worked. In addition, the parent often gives in!

A better way to deal with a Toddler Tantrum:

  • Use Distraction (“oh, look at that!” “I forgot to tell you..!”etc
  • Acknowledge the feeling (“You’re upset..”)
  • Set your boundary (“When you’re calm, we’ll sort it out”)
  • Separate the child from the behaviour (“I love you, but can’t accept that behaviour”)
  • Stay calm and model not ‘losing it’ for your child
  • Offer a choice “you can choose to have one biscuit, or you can choose to put back all the biscuits, which do you choose?”
  • Ignore the bad behaviour, and it decreases over time
  • Give more positive attention as the more attention you give, the less they demand,
  • Eight minutes a day of 1:1 focused attention is all a child needs to feel loved
  • If they are out of control – they need a parent  show them how to stay in control of their behaviour
  • The calmer you are, the calmer they will be – observe and see
  • Instead of Time Out for the child –take the Time Out you probably need
  • The child needs Time Into his feeling with a kind compassionate parent
  • Be Kind, Firm – without being Cross as withdrawal of your love is scary for them
  • Compassion is the No 1 response to challenging behaviour as when they deserve your love the least, they probably need it the most
  • Parenting is tough, so taking care of yourself with Time out for you, getting rest if tired, physical self care and exercise to de stress mean your parenting will be more relaxed and patient. Remember, you cannot take care of anyone until you first take care of you!!

Our video on Temper Tantrums might also help! Watch it Here!


This article was written by Sheila O Malley. Sheila owns Practical Parenting and offers courses, 1 to 1 support and School Talks as well as Company talks on Parenting and wellbeing. See www.practicalparenting.ie for details. Book a One Day Saturday course from 10-4pm with a friend or partner and get the tips to need to support you in the hardest job you ever do!