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Tips for dealing with toddler tantrums (without crying yourself!)

Alex O'Donoghue

Written by Alex O'Donoghue

2 min read

It's tough being a toddler. And a parent during tantrum phase!

Emotional toddler throwing a tantrum at home

As a toddler, you don't understand your emotions and you definitely don't have the vocab to express them. A big human comes along and tells you what to do?! Well, it's a big fat no and lots of enraged sobbing! 

As a parent, it's utterly perplexing why your sweet child turned into a monster overnight. We break it down, and share ideas on dealing with your child without crying yourself!

Take several deep breaths and calm yourself down first

It can be tough to do - but give it a go. Belly breathing is great to model for children and deactivating the limbic (survival) system. Place your hand on your tummy and on a count of five breath in, hold for five, and breathe out for five.

Validate and empathise with your child's feelings

Repeat simple observations to them like "I can see you are very upset". It doesn't mean you're agreeing with their views, but you're still showing them you are present. This approach helps your child's emotions to regulate, and their alarm signals will start to quiet - because they feel understood! 

Don't feel the need to say a lot - less is more!

Your child needs as little extra stimulation as possible. Remember that they will eventually come out of it and a consistent approach will speed this up. What goes up, must come down. Ride it out - tough, but necessary.

Remember the common triggers

It's no surprise that toddlers are more likely to get cross if they are tired or hungry! A bit like us. Meltdowns will always happen, or are more likely to happen, because of these two factors.

Give your child space

Some children just need to get their anger out before you step in to comfort them. Give them space and time to let it all out. Try to stand back and stay calm, but once their rage subsides you can give them a big cuddle and talk to them about why they felt so cross.

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