Sunday, September 6, 2009

How To Deal With Toddler Tantrums

Ella is about to reach the terrible twos and is beginning to be a little rascal. It's a good thing that I have learned early on through reading articles from,, (author of my favorite "No Cry Solution Series") and Smart Parenting Magazine that children will really get to throw tantrums before reaching 2 years old until around 4. Of course, these genius parenting people have already backed their sites and books up with tips to save parents from going nuts over their toddlers. But of course, a mommy still has to find ways of modifying those tips to something that is most applicable to her child, like me!

So how can we deal with it?

1. Read. --A lot!!! We want to know which behavior can be classified normal for our kids and which aren't. We want to know the reason behind each behavior so we could tailor our own means of discipline. We want to find out what each form of discipline would mean to a child and whether it would be effective for the situation or not.

2. Never give in. This has been an age-old tip that works. Even if you think it's ok to change your mind and say yes to what your kid wants, DON'T DO IT. It will give them the impression that you'll eventually give in when they throw a fit, so they'll just do it everytime. If on second thought you realized you'd really have to give him/her that cookie he was crying for, give it to him when he's already calm and may have forgotten all about it.

3. Create standard rules for everyone. If mommy will not give baby juice until after breakfast, then no one else will. We want to have the same yes and no answers as every care giver in the house so that the kids will not have a preferred person to show tantrums to.

4. Allow them to blow steam. I hope people understand that kids really go through a phase wherein they'd throw tantrums and embarrassed parents just don't know how to calm them down. And guess what? There are instances that don't need calming down. These kids cannot communicate overwhelming emotions like anger, boredom, sadness and frustration verbally well. So it's actually healthy to just leave them crying or stammering as long as you're sure they're not hurting themselves. In my own experience, Ella just cries for less than 2 minutes and stand up as if nothing happened.

5. Respond to basic and urgent needs. When basic needs such as food, drink and nappy change for poop or pee AND urgent needs during emergencies and illnesses are taken care of, then toddlers would have less going on in their world and would more likely be calm.

6. Make sure toddler is always well rested. At this stage, toddlers should sleep at least 10-12 hours at night and get 1-2 hours of nap time. Over stimulation with very little rest would definitely make them cranky. Check out my post about sleep training my daughter.

7. Keep baby stuff handy. Especially the ones that cause tantrums if delayed. If by experience, your child behaves well on a cab when you bring her teddy bear or her favorite KoKo Krunch snack, bring it everytime.

8. Teach baby sign language. Because again, one factor contributing to their mood swing is their challenge in communicating. You don't have to take serious classes in order to copy a standard baby sign language. Any hand or body signal that replaces something your toddler cannot say yet will do just fine. Make sure you also pair these signals with actual words so that toddler will learn to say them when they're ready.

9. Take an occasional "me" time. Especially for the stay-at-home moms, I find it very hard to do. But based on my own observation on myself and on my daughter, parents would just lose cool at their toddlers when they're very tired or unconfident. If you are very tired, or if there is something you must accomplish for yourself, for work, or for anything else, then hand your toddler over to someone else TRUSTED. I wouldn't want to cause more crying and frustration to my child just because I'm also frustrated with my own issues and on the verge of crying. Days when parents complain about giving everything and question why everything is not enough should be gone. Just like in every relationship, we cannot give anything that we don't have, so must first make sure we're overflowing with love, joy, excitement and playfulness before we take care of our children.

10. When it's wrong, it's wrong. And it should be dealt with whether it's the first time or the nth time...a mild case or a worst case. I have a neighbor who'd seem like she doesn't mind seeing her grand daughter behave badly in their house and around other kids. And then when she's had enough of what she's observing, she'll hit and shout at the toddler like mad...which is inappropriate. These toddlers more often than not, don't get the idea that what they're doing is bad behavior until they get shocked by an awful spanking, wondering "What have I done this time?!". Plus, with all the crying, angry words, spanking and all the negativity, toddlers tend to forget everything and keep such memories in the subconscious, including the lesson that was supposed to be learned.

11. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Talk to your toddler about the kind of behavior you'd like them to display before, say, you arrive at church and suggest a consequence if they behave otherwise. This way, they will have the time and freedom to choose how to act in a situation and be responsible for them.

12. Negotiate. As young as they may be, these kids are pretty clever. So we may want to exercise equality by giving them options that would make both of you meet halfway, such as excusing him/her for not finishing lunch if she would drink up his/her glass of milk.

Well, that's all that I can think of...I am not trying to sound like a perfect mom. I also have these dilemmas of trying to keep our show from the public and it is indeed very difficult. That is why I'm posting some of the thing's I've learned as Ella becomes a toddler and hopefully, other moms join in my journey too!

How about you, how do you appease your little berserk?

Love lots,


  1. Very good tips Bianca! =) I'm a speech therapist who works with kids, and I always tell the parents and caregivers to be the adult in the relationship and not let the tiny bundle of terror lord it all over them with tantrums and tears. =P

    One other thing that I find works well is talking to the child about why his/ her behavior is unacceptable and not to be tolerated. I take the time to explain to the child why he or she is being given a punishment, (usually time-outs)and allow the child time to think about the said behavior. Making kids understand that you don't get mad without good reason, and by showing that you are a reasonable and fair "adult", children tend to behave better. Kids don't like to be treated as "just kids" and even if they do not say it, it gives them a sense of pride knowing that they are responsible for their behavior. Of course, it follows that good behavior is rewarded with positive feedback. =)

  2. thanks for the tip! :) will try to work on that while Ella is still in the process of learning to the meantime, pahirapan muna ng konti! LOL

  3. I usually don’t know what to do when my niece throws tantrums… Until I’ve learned from Tantrum Toddlers Researcher. Since then, I survived in every situation.