Dealing with toddler tantrums

Written by    Last updated: September 12, 2007

Childhood tantrums can be stressful for both parent and child. Coping with the ‘terrible twos’ stage can be made easier with these tips…

toddler tantrumsCoping with the ‘terrible twos’ stage can be made easier with these tips…

Give attention

Toddlers need lots of attention and giving them quality time each day helps prevent them trying to get it in other, less positive ways.

Set an example

Children tend to follow the example of what they see around them. If you tend to lose your temper easily or get irritable this is likely to worsen the situation.

Set boundaries

The toddler is making a transition from a baby to a child and needs to be given boundaries. This should be done in a firm manner, but only when the toddler is in a calm state of mind.

Physical activity

Toddlers need to use up a lot of physical energy. Making sure that they do this in a daily activity such as walking in the park or playing in the garden helps to reduce a build‐up of excessive energy.


Children that are fed on processed foods containing high levels of sugar, salt, saturated fat, artificial colours and flavours, tend to be more hyper‐active which could be a factor that leads to tantrums.


Give your child 5 to 10 minutes to prepare mentally for going out. Tell them of what they can look forward to. Make sure you are ready before you ask the toddler to leave, as waiting around can be confusing for them.

Stay calm

No matter how difficult it may be, don’t react to the tantrum. Stay calm and allow it to run its course. It’s a part of the growing up process and if handled properly, the phase will soon pass.


Showing appreciation for good behaviour is a better reward than gifts or food treats. Notice when your child does something positive like sharing food and make sure you give acknowledgement.

Get them involved

If you’re going on a weekly shop to the supermarket, you could give the toddler a task to do like picking up an item and placing it in the trolley. You could also find ways to turn it into a game or fun activity.

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