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Frenzies and Fits:Tips to Help Calm a Tantrum

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

So your little one is having a bad day, and of course that means a bad day for you, too. Well, mommy or daddy, take a deep breath and give yourself a pat on the back. You are not alone! When it seems like you’re at your wits end, do you have any ideas on how to tame that savage beast?

Everyone has different ideas about how to handle a tantruming toddler. Do you ignore them; do you give in; do you distract them? Well, here are just a couple ways to help you deal with your toddler’s melt downs from fellow expert parents, like you.

Take a timeout! Put your little munchkin in a timeout in another room; one minute for every year of age. Many times this calms the tantrum due to the fact that they can’t get your attention when they are away from you (which is what they were going for all along). A timeout is also good for your sanity. A minute of silence, or at least separation, gives you a moment to breathe and collect your nerves. You can be the best mommy or daddy in the world and still reach the end of your saint-like patience!

When your little one is at their wits end, and really starting to let their temper fly, take a moment to have an all out tickle-fest! Poke a rib or tickle their toes to get them wiggling and giggling. Laughter really is the best medicine, and it also provides a release of pent up energy and emotion. As a parent, there is also no way for you to keep a straight face while your little “baby” is laughing away! Laughter can go a long way for you too.

Use your words! Many times you’ll find that your toddler is lashing out because they do not have the words they need to express themselves. You know when the scream, hit, and bite are on their way, so have yourself ready for it. If your youngest is about to tantrum, speak to them with understanding and empathy; “I know you’re mad, but we can’t get that toy right now,” or “I know you’re upset because we have to leave.” Showing your toddler that you understand how they’re feeling relieves that frustration. Remember, using your words really helps you out, as well. By just saying how you feel often vindicates that emotion, and relieves it.

Easier said than done, but sometimes you need to just ignore the outburst. A toddler will often times throw a fit just to get your reaction. If they don’t receive that reaction, they will either change their approach or move on to another thought process. Although ignoring their tantrum may seem cruel to you, it will teach you little tiger that there are better ways of getting what they want.

Give your tantrumer a squeeze! Again, not the easiest at times, but when your toddler is going wild, just take a moment to stop and give them a hug. A good hug may calm a toddler’s need for attention, or it will distract them away from whatever else is bothering them. When they hug you back, then you get the therapy. It is hard to have a rambunctious toddler! When you get that sweet hug back, you get a refreshing reminder of how wonderful being a parent really is.

When nothing seems to work, call in backup! You are not the first parent to lose your cool, and your toddler is not the first to have a never-ending fit. When you know your little one is safe, walk away and let your husband/wife/parent/friend know that you need a minute. Take a few minutes for yourself; go for a walk or a ride to the beach. You’ll be able to walk back into the situation calm and relaxed, and your mood will rub off on your child. You feed off of one another’s energy, so when you are able to regain your serenity, your little one will feel more relaxed, too.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Frenzies and Fits:Tips to Help Calm a Tantrum

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