Did that little man or lady just start screaming, crying, sometimes throwing herself on the floor? is he hitting his head against the wall? and you are wondering how to just get him to stop.
Welcome to the tantrum-throwing stage. Your cute little baby with pudgy arms and ruddy cheeks has suddenly turned from being so adorable one moment to a little monster right?
Probably not, because then she switches to the default setting and becomes her old self and he is the playful happy boy again and you are wondering what just happened???
What is a Tantrum?
A tantrum is an episode of extreme anger and frustration characterized by crying, screaming, and violent body motions, including throwing things, falling to the floor, and banging one’s head, hands, and feet against the floor.
Tantrums are not peculiar to your child, however, different children express theirs in different ways, one toddler could resort to biting or pinching herself or even biting others just to show their frustrations or anger.
Tantrums are normal, oftentimes they are not socially acceptable behaviour causing a feeling of embarrassment or even shame to some parents especially when they are displayed in front of guests or in public places.
Reactions to Toddler tantrums
Most first-time parents get overwhelmed when their kids throw tantrums, some old-timers resort to ignoring the child, shouting and/or even spanking to get the child to behave or keep quiet. other forms of reactions may include bribing the child and in some cases you find the confused parent breaking down in tears.
Why do toddlers throw Tantrums?
First, understand that when your child was a baby, she communicated by crying and you interpreted her cry needs by responding appropriately. Now your toddler is trying to learn how to communicate her needs using language and is not able to get all her words out, at less than 2 1/2 years she gets an average of 50 -75 words which can mostly be single words or paired in twos such as f water, brush, eat, poopoo, carry me, get up, let’s go.
Most times your baby is having a hard time communicating her needs and just gets plain frustrated.
At other times, toddlers like to explore and do not know their limits, this is where you come in as the parent to establish boundaries to ensure they do not hurt themselves.
Their attempt to continue in their path and defy you may depend on how strong-willed the child is, testing your patience and your ability to remain calm.
Your goal as a parent in solving tantrums.
Your goal as a parent is to keep your child calm, happy and out of harm’s way. this can be achieved in several ways.
what to do when your child is throwing a tantrum
- Prevent tantrums by ensuring your child is not hungry, feed them appropriately but don’t overfeed, this in itself can cause discomfort which can lead to tantrums. Also, give your child something to snack on to avoid hunger tantrums.
Pick up your child into your arms: sometimes toddlers are tired or even sleepy and the way they express this tiredness is by throwing tantrums. Picking up the child in your arms and letting him lean on your shoulder can be reassuring and bring calm, luring him to be quiet and even fall asleep.
Give a bath: a cold bath in hot weather, especially in a temperate region like Nigeria, can do a world of good to your toddler. A warm bath if its cold at night also works similar magic. the child may still kick and scream while bathing but tend to be calm after bathing and most often than not fall asleep soon enough.
Ignore the child, sometimes children just throw tantrums, for the sake of throwing tantrums. as long as the child is not hungry or sleepy. Leave them to wear themselves out.
Ensure the child is not harming himself or others such as your toddler starts biting or beating another child . If he/she is, issue a warning against harming others in a calm but firm voice and remove harmful objects from within their reach. Take your child away from the child he/she is venting on and set your child alone, pretty soon he/she will stop.
Create a diversion, some children respond to music; a favorite song or dance routine can quench those wails. While for some children depending on the time of the day and weather taking them outdoors for a walk does the magic. A favorite toy can also be a distraction that works especially if the child likes to cuddle it or it makes a specific sound that appeals to your child. Turning on the TV and watching cartoons can also be a good distraction.
Turn on the laughter button: most kids cannot stand the good old trick of tickles. Tickle till they giggle. this brings out bubbles of laughter that make them forget the reason for throwing tantrums.
Give incentives: children love treats, so a cup of juice, ice cream, candy, biscuit could be the appropriate bribe to silence that tantrum. but this sometimes can come back to haunt you because the child might just resort to tantrums and manipulate you everytime to bribe him/her. so as much as this works, don’t use it always.
Discipline, for most parents of African descent, spanking is a sure bet to getting the child to behave, especially after a public display of tantrums.
This may have worked but it is not approved by many, as it is seen as a form of child abuse.
In extreme cases spanking has caused severe injuries and scars on children. Spanking in itself instills fear in the child.
Other forms of discipline that are being embraced by parents are non- physical such as denying the child of privileges, giving the child chores and isolation amongst others.