Although having a healthy and spirited child is always a positive thing, energetic toddlers can often demonstrate some major mood swings. When it comes to my toddler, a perfectly normal cheerful mood can suddenly shift into a frenzied tantrum in mere seconds. Preventing these tantrums and dealing with them effectively when they strike has become one of the most important tools I’ve learned so far as a mom.
The first step is working out why the tantrums are taking place. With Jackson’s, it often seemed like overtiredness was to blame. We would go for family outings and find that by the afternoon, he was increasingly sensitive and demanding. This moodiness could easily escalate into a full-blown temper tantrum. Naptimes became an important fixture in our household, and it’s made a huge difference.
Other triggers can include things like hunger, thirst and overstimulation, so try and pre-empt by keeping regular snack times and making sure that the activities you plan don’t overwhelm your child.
If your child does begin showing the warning signs you’ve come to associate with an upcoming tantrum, try and avoid escalation with distractions. Change the scenery by moving your toddler out of the room, start asking them questions about something you know they love chattering about or sing songs with them. You know your kid best, so you’ll know what distracts them the fastest; run through each of these and you may find that they forget what they were getting worked up about.
Positive reinforcement can also go a long way to preventing tantrums. Instead of reacting negatively when the bad behaviour occurs, it can be more effective to encourage good behaviour by praising your child often when they do something right, and encouraging them as often as possible. A little love can go a lot further than waiting until they act out to react.