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How to Deal with Toddler Tantrums

how to toddler tantrums

It’s official.

We’ve reached toddler tantrum phase and the terrible twos now has real meaning for us—and, we’re not even two yet, ha! When I asked for post suggestions last month, this one was a popular topic!

Thankfully, Owen has not had any major, horrible, embarrassing tantrums in public…. yet. But, I think that’s because I do my best to make sure the conditions are right before we head out so that he’s not pushed past his limits. That being said, I know they will come! But, for now, I wanted to share these tips that I think have helped us!

1. Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep

Seems like an obvious one, but sometimes I dismiss how important quality nighttime and naps are until he doesn’t nap well and chaos ensues. When he’s gotten plenty of sleep, his mood is infinitely better! He’s mostly happy and when he does get frustrated, it’s much less intense.

If your little one is still young, here’s my post on sleep! If you’re still struggling, I can’t say enough good things about Taking Cara Babies’ classes.

2. Come Prepared

Whenever we go to restaurants, I always come prepared with things to keep him entertained. If we don’t have anything for him, he starts shouting “All done” over and over again until he gets out of his high chair. Often times, we’re not “all done” or the bill hasn’t arrived, so having a few small toys is a great distraction. Keeping a few special toys that he doesn’t get to play with at home in his bag makes him even more interested in them too!

3. Be Patient

My fear is being that mom that yells at her kids in public. My approach right now is to just let him do his thing. I try my best to not react or get mad because I don’t want him to think that if he has a tantrum he gets lots of attention or gets picked up and held.

Plus, I also know that when I get mad, he gets sad and only cries harder. He’s a sensitive guy, so being patient and letting the moment pass is easiest.

4. Get on Their Level

Whenever Im trying to reason with him or talk to him seriously, I squat down and get on his level. I’ll try to hold his hands so he’s more focused on me and explain the situation. I always finish with, “Mommy loves you, but we don’t _______”.

It’s not always a perfect solution, but I do find that it helps!

5. Pacify them with a Snack

I sorta hate to do this, but some situations are more dire than others. And, often times he’s hungry and a snack gives him enough energy to bounce his mood back to pleasant.

Before I give him one, I quickly think back to the last time he ate. Often it’s been longer than I realized and a snack can do the trick!

how to deal with toddler tantrums

6. Go Outdoors

Whenever we’re having a mega bad mood, going outside almost always instantly calms him. The say that nature is grounding, and it works exceptionally well for our little guy! It’s also nice because he can run around and look around at what all is happening.

A quick walk or scooter ride around the block, or even just moving our playing out the patio can be so soothing.

7. Stay in Control

This is a big one. I never ever want my kid to run my life. I am the adult, I have the final say. When I say “no”, I mean it and I don’t go back on my word.

Yes, in the moment it might make the situation worse, but I like to think that this is setting him up to better understand and deal with not always getting his way. I want him to be a well-adjusted, patient and reasonable kid and I feel like standing my ground teaches him boundaries at a young age.

8. Dealing with Hitting

We went through a very brief phase where Owen tried to hit me, and successfully did a few times—thankfully not hard. In my book, that is completely unacceptable. We don’t hit friends, we don’t hit mommies, we don’t doggies, etc., etc.

When he did this, I would give him a very stern, serious face and say in a stern voice, “we do NOT hit mommy, that hurts mommy”. I’d then set him down and walk away and ignore him for a minute or two.

He would get very upset, but then I’d come back, get on his level and tell him again, “mommy loves you, but we do not hit mommy, that makes mommy sad”. A couple of weeks of this and it just went away on it’s own—crossing my fingers it doesn’t come back!

I’m by no means a pro, but wanted to share what’s worked for us! I know how tough this age can be. It really tests your patience and pushes your limit, but it makes us stronger in the long run, baby two will be a breeze (ha, who am I kidding—that will likely not be the case).

I’d love to hear what has worked for you guys when your toddlers throw tantrums as well! Please leave your comments below so everyone can benefit from your tips!

BTW, 10 tips for traveling with toddlers, and when did you transition your toddler from crib to bed?