The Right Way To Deal With Toddler Tantrums

A tantrum is a way children express frustration over their limitations or anger at not being allowed to have their way.  The toddler could be having some trouble completing a task or figuring something new out.  The frustration they feel usually triggers an outburst that winds up in the form of a temper tantrum. Do be mindful of certain ways in which you, as a parent, can actually make things worse.

Some Triggers of Temper Tantrums:

  • Frustration
  • Seeking attention
  • Expecting a treat or a toy 
  • Reluctance to do something 
  • Hunger pangs
  • Exhaustion

A significant cause of tantrums in toddlers is the internal conflict they experience. They want independence and their parents’ attention in equal measure.  The coping mechanisms to deal with strong emotions or disappointments haven’t developed yet. As they lack the verbal means to express themselves, they tend to lash out. 

What needs to be done if your child throws a tantrum?

Give these strategies a chance when facing a temper tantrum:

  1. If you sense the advent of a tantrum, attempt to distract your child. Distract them with their favourite toy, or engage with them in their favourite activity.
  2. Avoid lecturing, arguing, or threatening a child if they are in the middle of a tantrum. That only makes the situation worse.  Once the child calms down sufficiently, only then address the inappropriate behaviour. 
  3. To keep toddlers safe in the midst of their tantrum, keep any dangerous objects out of their reach. If your toddlers cannot be reasoned with and display a total lack of control, keep them in a safe space. If required, use a time-out by keeping them in a room devoid of any distractions.

What to do after the tantrum passes?

  1. Once the tantrum has passed, have a conversation about what happened. You can also have a healthy talk on how to work together to prevent future tantrums. 
  2. Don’t hold back the praise and encouragement when your child displays positive behaviour. They appreciate being recognised for making good choices, and being specific with the praise will reinforce your child’s good behaviour.
  3. Teaching your child to label emotions also helps to curb the incidence of tantrums. They need parental help to describe frustration, jealousy, anger or disappointment.  Help toddlers by giving them the words to express themselves and watch their tantrums melt away.

How Can Parents Prevent a Temper Tantrum?

It is virtually impossible to have a tantrum-free environment, as that is a part of how young kids communicate, and it is a natural part of their development.  However, there are steps you can take to reduce their frequency. 

  1. Giving toddlers a degree of control will help lessen those aggressive patches. Let them make choices but within reason. For example, they can choose between two of their favourite outfits or two treats. They cherish the feeling of control like everyone else. 
  2. Activities that involve transition, such as stepping out of the house or leaving the playground, can be challenging for toddlers to process.  Take steps to prepare them in advance for any transition, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you. View the world through their eyes and imagine their apprehension when everything is new.


Being at the receiving end of tantrums can be a difficult thing for parents to deal with. Do remember that these are a natural part of a child’s development. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, toddlers have nine different kinds of temperaments. They further state that tantrums are equally common in both boys and girls and occur at least once a week. 

Tantrums are not a major cause for worry; they usually dissipate by the time your toddler turns four. As kids mature, they grasp communication skills, co-operate, and cope better with frustration.

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