Tantrums in children… how do you deal with them?

As a parent, you may be surprised when your toddler has a tantrum for the first time. This can be at home, but also in public. If it is your first child, you are probably unfamiliar with this phenomenon. It is good to delve deeper into this, so that you know how best to deal with it. And what the positive consequences are if you immediately start working on it structurally. A tantrum in your child can take you by surprise. Especially if it happens the first time. A tantrum is very normal, every child has to deal with it, although it will be more frequent and more intense for some toddlers than for others. As a parent, it is good to delve into the phenomenon of tantrums, so that you know what is going on in your child at that moment and how you can best deal with it. The latter is important, because if the wrong approach is taken, your child can teach himself that certain behavior is rewarded, while the opposite is the intention.

What are tantrums?

When your child starts walking and exploring on his own, tantrums may occur. This is often after the first year, and especially so with two-year-olds. Your child will explore the world and develop a certain degree of independence. They want to decide for themselves what they do, so to speak, and everything that prevents them from doing so creates a feeling of irritation and frustration. Because they cannot yet express this well with words, and they cannot really realize what is going on inside them, a tantrum is a way to express this. Some examples of situations that can make toddlers frustrated:

  • They are forbidden something, often by saying ‘no’
  • Something doesn’t go quite as they expected
  • They want to do something, but it turns out it’s much harder than they thought
  • They want to make something clear, but they can’t (because they can’t speak)
  • There is fatigue due to the many activities

As much as you want to compartmentalize everything and gain grip and control as a parent, a tantrum can also occur without a clear cause. This may, for example, have to do with the character of your child.

How do you recognize a tantrum?

Your child expresses himself by, for example, crying (whining), shouting, stamping his feet and stamping on the floor. Don’t fear when your child uses the breath-holding tactic. This will only take a moment and your toddler will start gasping for air again. A tantrum can sometimes only last half a minute. But sometimes it can go on for hours.

Learning to deal with a tantrum, as a parent and a toddler

Toddlers have a learning capacity. That is, they remember what one achieves with certain behavior. As a parent you experience that your child is demanding and stubborn. Be aware of what is going on in your child at that moment and contrast this with the fact that you may find it annoying because it may happen in a public place.
If you teach your child that they can solve problems differently, tantrums will not decrease in the years that follow. Your child can grow over tantrums and be helped by the parent by learning to deal with the feelings of irritation and frustration and how to express them.
A pitfall for parents is not consistently correcting behavior . A child teaches himself to stay in a tantrum, especially when this produces results. Some children even learn to go the extra mile when it turns out that a normal tantrum doesn’t get them what they want. This behavior is stimulated when you as a parent give in (for example because you as a parent find the situation embarrassing). Do not!

Every parent recognizes themselves in this situation: You are walking with your toddler in the supermarket. Your child sees those delicious cookies and takes them from the shelves. Your first reaction is to say ‘no’ and put the cookies back on the shelf. Once again your child takes the cookies and starts shouting and stamping loudly: ‘me, me, me!’. Because you find this situation quite embarrassing and would like to calm the situation as quickly as possible, you put the cookies in your basket anyway. Even though you initially said ‘no’, persevering still produced results. Your child remembers this and learns to shout louder when shouting is rewarded. Next time, in a similar situation, you will want to stand your ground, but your child will scream even louder. So be consistent!


Help your toddler prevent tantrums

There are a number of actions you as a parent can take to prevent tantrums. Some actions are preventive, others are intended to be applied at the moment. As a parent you already have many options to prevent or limit tantrums:

  • Place items that you do not want your child to touch, out of the reach of children. Then you don’t have to keep saying: ‘No, that’s not allowed’. For example, think of your expensive glasses or the remote control.
  • Keep the situation clear for your child in terms of rules about what is and is not allowed. After all, he or she is only a toddler, and he or she cannot remember an infinite number of rules.
  • A fixed pattern of eating and sleeping is ideal. It brings a lot of inner peace and order through the same rhythm. This also makes you calmer as a parent.
  • Your child may throw tantrums because something does not go as he or she expects. As a parent you can practice expectation management: tell them what you are doing and what you are going to do. State what is going to happen so that your child is not surprised.
  • Boredom quickly reaches a child. Situations in which you, as an adult, can easily put into perspective the fact that you have to wait a while at the doctor’s office or in a store, can quickly lead to boredom for your toddler. Give him or her something to do.
  • Simply pointing out what is not going well has a negative effect. Turn it around: also mention the good things your child does.
  • Be consistent: ‘no means no!’. Remember that you must also be consistent in subsequent similar situations. So when you say ‘no’, always consider whether it is reasonable. So quick rejection is not always a good thing.


Still a tantrum… how do you deal with it?

If a tantrum does occur, as a parent you can fall back on a number of possible ways to deal with it:

  • ‘Ignore due’
  • Tell your child what to do
  • Time-out


Ignore appropriately

If your child has a tantrum, you can of course ignore it completely. This is especially helpful for young children. The child realizes that there is no attention paid to the mood at all, and that there is nothing to gain. The tantrum slowly fades away. Please note that as a parent you must be very consistent: you must not react until the mood has completely gone. If you give in in the meantime, your child will have learned that it pays off after all! With appropriate ignoring, you pay no attention to your child during the tantrum: you do not talk to him or her, nor do you look. It is easier to translate the space. When the mood is over, pick up the thread again, starting with a compliment (don’t forget!).
Appropriate ignoring can also be practiced in public spaces. Then get over the shame, if applicable. Often it only takes a moment, and there is more understanding from others than you think. If it persists, you can always apply one of the options below.

Tell your child what to do

There are many situations in which appropriate ignoring is not appropriate. For example, consider situations when there are visitors (with other children). You can then apply the technique of telling your child what to do. This especially works for slightly older children. Really stop for a moment for what you are doing at that moment. Stand in front of your child, within an arm’s length and preferably not leaning over the child in a pedantic manner. Calmly explain which behavior needs to stop, and which behavior is desired, i.e. what your child should do. Say it very calmly but convincingly. Don’t shout yourself. If your child does what you said, compliment him or her (don’t forget!).


If a tantrum persists, time-out is a proven method. In a time-out you remove your child from the situation where the problem occurs and take him or her to a separate place. Make sure that this space is not too distracting, preferably boring, and where the child cannot cause too much harm. Many parents choose a fixed place, for example the hallway or hall. This place is then associated with the fact that the child has done something wrong.
If you have placed your toddler in a separate place, explain in a calm tone what he or she has done wrong and what the consequence is: moving to the separate place, and that he or she must be quiet for a minute. Only then can the toddler return. The time only starts when the child is calm. No matter how strongly he or she may react, stick to your point. Also pay attention to the return itself. Once your toddler has completed the minute’s silence, return them to their original location and help them pick up the activity. Give your child a compliment (don’t forget!). Repeat this time-out several times if the situation does not change and your toddler throws another tantrum almost immediately or within a short time. As a parent you have to be patient, but that is the approach that has the most effect. Certainly in the longer term. They learn to deal with feelings better.
The time-out can also be applied in public places. The separate place must be a safe place, so not in the middle of the street. Take your child to a park, or if necessary in a parked car. Tell him or her that they need to sit still for a minute, for example. Only when this has been accomplished will you return to the original location. Be sure to compliment your child afterwards (don’t forget!). If the tantrums continue, you can also repeat this action. A child can be so upset about not being in the homely, familiar environment that there is actually no other solution than to go home. Then get over your personal emotion. That’s annoying, but sometimes it’s the same. Be consistent in your behavior and the things you say!

read more

  • Homeopathy for your baby
  • Keep your child away from alcohol
  • What does a child cost on average?
  • Media smarts, which media are suitable for my child?
  • Baby massage, good for parent and child
© 2023 ApaFungsi.Com