How to survive toddler tantrums

Toddler tantrum
Toddler tantrum
This blog post originally appeared on and has been used with permission.

So here I am at the toddler tantrum phase of life! Yay me! Malakai started with his mini tantrums just before his first birthday and I brushed it off at the time. Then when he turned one, it progressed to the next level! But in my mind I envisioned tantrums only officially happening once a child turned two! I took him to his Paediatrician who experienced Malakai’s tantrum first hand, and he just smiled and said, “The tantrums have officially begun for you and Malakai!“

I was in denial, thinking: “Don’t I still have another year to mentally prepare for it?” Uh, no guess not! The doctor said to me that they start warming up with tantrums from early as one years of age! Yikes! Of course I Googled and read everything I needed to know regarding this, because I wanted to handle this new phase with the right kind of insight.

Tantrum time

When researching tantrums I found a few useful tips on how to deal with them and why they occur, obviously I am no expert here but none the less sharing is caring! Hopefully these tips will give you some insight. Remember every child is unique, which means you will find your own coping mechanisms to help your little one. Tantrums occur for multiple reasons and certain instances can trigger them off. It is important to understand tantrums and to understand how your child experiences it, so that you have the tools that helps to empower them and yourself!

Tantrum triggers

- Being overly tired.
- Hungry. Hungry. Hungry!
- Feeling out of control.

How to handle them

1. Remain calm

If you get upset with them for being upset, then none of you will move on! At this age and stage of life, they are trying to express what they feel, you can’t be upset with them for that. Getting upset and shouting at them will make them feel frightened and even more unsure of their emotions, which in turn overwhelms them and increases their anxiety levels. You need to let them get it out of their system, so take a deep breath and wait for it to pass.

2. Stay with them, hold them, affirm them

Don’t leave your child by themselves, stay with them and try to hold them (if possible). They need your comfort and reassurance, if you leave your child in those moments they will feel abandoned by you, which could hamper their confidence long term. Reassure them that you love them, in those moments they feel out of control. Therefore they need your affirmation and love to help sooth and calm them.

3. Remember: You are the parent

Try not to cave in and give them what they want so that they stop the tantrum. Because that will encourage the mentality of “if I don’t get my way then I can turn into the Hulk!” You are still the parent at the end of the day!

4. Offer them choices

Your toddler is trying to become more independent , so instead of saying no all the time or just telling them: “Eat your broccoli”, offer them options to choose from. For example “Would you like pumpkin with your chicken, or would you like potatoes?” When you give them extra options (that you designed for them) they feel included in the decision making process.

5. Distract, distract, distract

Often distraction helps, especially if it is the right kind of distraction. It amazes me sometimes how often it has worked with Malakai. Some times he will be getting into his tantrum, then I point at something and say ”Malakai, look at the bird”. He stops for a second, looks and points at it and says "Wow". Phew, tantrum done and dusted!

6. Make sure they are in a safe spot

If your toddler has a fierce tantrum that seems like it could be harmful for them, move them to a safe area and remain with them until they are calm.

These are just a few methods that I have been using with Malakai and so far it has been helping him! Remember every child is different, try to observe your child and their tantrum triggers and think of ways to to empower them in those moments.

Good luck!

Cassan Ferguson is a first-time mom to a handsome baby boy. Read more about her and her family on her blog and you can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Which methods do you use when dealing with tantrums?
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24