If you’re the parent of a toddler, you know how quickly things can go from great to screaming-fit-crazy. At their age, toddlers aren’t fully capable of regulating their emotions, so something as simple as cutting their toast the wrong way is enough to send them into overdrive. Here are some things to try to stop toddler tantrums.
The main goal is to reset, redirect, and distract. Follow me here…
This is a good one even if you’re in public. Getting outside and enjoying some fresh air is almost always a good reset for us. Even if it’s freezing cold, step outside for a few minutes and point out things to look at. Play a quick game. Find 3-5 objects outside. A truck, a garbage can, a flower… Things your little one can easily point out on their own. Mention a few times that after you find a couple more things, you get to go back inside! This is exciting! We get to play this finding object game and then go back in and finish our grocery shopping game… or whatever it is.
Here are some of our favorite outdoor toys to play with when we just need a break:
At this age, our kids sometimes believe us but they’re starting to pick up on our plot to manipulate them with the threat of fun just to get things done. Enjoy it while it lasts because it won’t be long before they can see through us completely! 🙂
Go for a Drive
Especially if the issue is that your little one is refusing to nap, a drive works almost every time. Our kids have always hated their car seats, but when they’re tired, they literally can’t fight it. Before we reach the end of our road, they’re asleep. I hope your car has the same magical powers that ours does.
Even if the goal isn’t a nap, car rides can sometimes be a great distraction. Right now, our 2 year old is in love with firetrucks. If he’s in a bad mood, I’ll take a drive past the nearest fire station. Seeing those big red trucks inside the building gets him giddy every time.
Just Add Water
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that for about the last year, we’ve been traveling a ton for my husband’s job. This means a LOT of time spent in hotel rooms. When we’re traveling and a toddler temper tantrum breaks out, I throw both kids in the bathtub. Water and a couple of hotel room cups to fill up and dump out save my sanity every time.
A more permanent solution is this awesome and cheap water table. It should keep your kids busy AND save your sanity.
I know a lot of parents these days are against screen time and I totally respect if you are one of them. We’re not, and I hope you can respect my opinion on this too. I’m just saying that if a movie helps everyone keep their sanity and the alternative is a screaming fit, which are you going to pick? I’d pick cuddles and a movie any day! 🙂
These days, we hand our kids these tablets and let them play ABC Mouse for a little while. It’s fun, educational, and offering them these tablets stops a tantrum in it’s tracks.
Ignore and Distract
When absolutely nothing else will get our two-year old to stop misbehaving, I’ll start ignoring him…and then I’ll go play with his toys. Or I’ll get out some bubbles and mind my own business sitting there blowing them. When he’s distracted doing naughty things, I get distracted doing fun things that he’s actually allowed to do.
Keep Your Cool
Remember, no matter how crazy your toddlers get, there needs to be an adult in this situation. Be that. Your kids feed off of your emotions and if you are high-stress, they’ll react to that. I have to remind myself of this many times when our toddler goes out of his way to push his little brother over or to purposely destroy something for the millionth time today. This parenting journey is a bumpy one, but it’s worth it!
When your little ones start to lose it, what helps you regain control? Are there any activities that work for you all the time that I haven’t listed here? Let me know in the comments!