4 Tips for Disarming a Toddler Tantrum

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Image via adapted Flickr/ Marion Doss

You can always spot a parent of a toddler — they have a slightly scared look on their face, they're always on their toes, and they seem nervous. Why? Because toddlers could go off at any moment. You swore your child would never, but they always do. Trust me.

Tantrums are not easy for parents to deal with, and it can make us all feel like we're totally failing, but it comes with the territory of parenting a 2- to 4-year-old kid. According to the Mayo Clinic, tantrums are a normal, healthy part of childhood — a combination of a child wanting to express what they want but not having the correct vocabulary to express it. It explodes into a very loud, embarrassing moment for parents, made worse when it happens in public.

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The toddler tantrum is as mysterious and complicated as a bomb, but just like a real bomb expert knows, there are ways to disarm it before it blows up. You never seem to know when or how it's going to set off, but if your child is nearing the toddler phase, you'll inevitably experience the toddler blow up.

Here are some tricks and tips for disarming the tantrum before it blows up in your face.

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Image via Flickr/ donnierayjones

1. Be prepared at any moment.

When it comes to getting out of toddler tantrum situation, being prepared is key! Stock your purse up with distraction methods like crayons and cookies, and pull them out when your child is acting like a tantrum may blow. Getting rid of the potential for a tantrum before it happens can help keep everyone sane, and it's always easier to get out of the situation before it turns into a full-blown spaz-out.

Know your child's trigger points. Do they get crankier when they're tired? When they're hungry? When there are crowds? Once you figure those out, use distractions to keep the tantrums at bay.

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Image via Flickr/ donnierayjones

2. Approach with caution.

Have you heard the phrase “you can't fight fire with fire”? Well, the same is true when you talk about toddler tantrums; you can't disarm if you're going to bring a bomb as well. Sure, your first instinct may be to yell and argue, but there is truth in the other popular phrase “kill it with kindness.”

And that's what you should do.

Approach the tantrum with sweetness and being overly kind, but not giving in, and you'll change their mood while keeping your cool as well.

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Image via Flickr/ miss pupik

3. Give choices.

The illusion of choice can go a long way in allowing your toddler to get what they want and for you to get what you want as well — peace! Instead of giving demands or ultimatums to your child, offer choices, even if they don't seem important to you. Does your child want white milk or chocolate milk? Do they want to walk this way or that way?

You can even subtly sway them to the right choice by making it easier to choose the right option: “You put your shoes on and come with me to the grocery store, or you can refuse, and we'll stay home and clean.” Your child won't ever choose the cleaning option (but if they're testing you and do, make it the most annoying cleaning day ever).

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Image via Flickr/ Narith5

4. Ignore it.

If you're a new parent and you believe your child would never in a million years act like the kid you saw who was losing their cool because their mom said they couldn't have the Sofia the First bubble bath they desperately wanted, you're wrong.

Why? Because toddlers spaz out about things, and it's going to happen to you in private and maybe even in public. Yes, it's deadly embarrassing, but it's a part of toddlerhood that is going to happen as your child figures out the world isn't totally about them. So, when it happens to you, you can choose to ignore it and just move about your business as if they were not screaming bloody murder.

It won't last forever and, sure, you may get some stares from fellow shoppers, but if you give in to your toddler's request, you're setting a precedence for them that if they act that way, they'll get their way. And you don't want that.

{ MORE: Parents, Just Be Kind }

What are your tips for disarming a toddler tantrum? Share in the comments!

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4 Tips for Disarming a Toddler Tantrum

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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