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May 12, 2020
Dealing with toddler tantrums is difficult for any parent to cope with. It’s also difficult for anyone to be ‘well behaved’ 100% of the time, but particularly tough when we’re stuck inside with each other all day long.
Being in lockdown is such an unusual time for everyone, but particularly tough for young children as they may not understand why they can’t see their friend’s or go and play in the park.
Frustrations build and this can lead to tantrums and disruptive behaviour. This is the same for adults as well as children and we can all end up falling out, which is only going to make a tough situation much worse as everyone will feel upset and hurt.
The most common reasons for tantrums are, fear, pain, or anxiety. If a young person feels afraid, experiences a lot of change, or is being bullied (whether in person or online), then they’ll very quickly become uncomfortable and eventually display this in their behaviour. Adults are a little better at dealing with these emotions, but we all need to be aware of our triggers and work towards controlling them.
Frustration can also be caused by simple curiosity or boredom. Every parent will understand the “but why” question and after providing answers to lots of questions we could find ourselves very frustrated.
We can all display unhelpful behaviours to our partners and children and if we want to deescalate a situation then avoiding the following knee-jerk reaction with your children will help:
Tutting, eye rolling, crossing your arms, letting your child know ‘You’ve made me upset or angry’ – anything that displays your own emotions while ignoring the young person’s can be a bad idea. Your own feelings are (unfortunately) irrelevant to the situation, so as hard as it can be, try to stay neutral. It’ll be easier than trying to pick up the pieces if things go wrong.
In the event of a tantrum then try and remain calm, acknowledge your child’s distress and remove them from the situation allowing them time to calm down.
Afterwards try to come up with a useful activity that you can do together, it is important to ensure that you draw a line under the event and do not fall back into emotional punishment like being withdrawn from them, or mentioning how bad they had been.
If the tantrum has started because of bath time then check our ocean buddies collection to make bath time fun again. We also have a Tikiri Farm and Zoo collection which are all great toys to distract toddlers from potential boredom tantrums and great to play together.
Children need to know that your not holding their behaviour against them, they need to understand that a fresh start is just that and not false start with you later bringing up the behaviour.
We do not know how long this situation will last, so living in such close proximity with your loved ones is going to be tough, but remember they are your loved ones, so no matter what treat them with love and respect, and let go of any negative feelings.
For more information on dealing with toddler tantrums please see the NHS temper tantrums page which also has some useful hints and tips.
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