How to deal with toddler tantrums

Toddler tantrums are a normal part of every young child's life, but what's the best way to deal with them? Here are some of our top tips.

Never give in

The main rule with tantrums is never, ever to give in to them. If you do, you're teaching your child that kicking off will get them what they want. And pretty soon you will have a 25 year old crying on the floor of the supermarket becauset they've run out of Cocoa Pops.

It's all about the show

Ultimately a tantrum is a show. There's no show without an audience, so by refusing to engage you will soon find that it stops. All children's bevaviour is ultimately about gaining their parent's attention, but they don't differentiate between positive and negative attention. Give lots of attention to the behaviour you want to encourage and ignore the stuff you don't.

Distraction is your friend

Often you can't logically reason with a child who is in the full throes of a tantrum, but you can distract them easily enough. The best way to do this is by distracting yourself - look out the window or play with a toy. Since your child wants your attention, they will be curious about whatever has grabbed it.

Take some time out

If your toddler tantrum has become particularly epic, sometimes all you can do is sit and wait for the storm to pass. Put your child in a safe space until they calm down - they will eventually!

Stop it before it starts

A lot of the time you can see where a tantrum has come from. Often it's tiredness, boredom, hunger or over-stimulation. Be aware of hot spots like these in your day and think about what you can do to deal with them, before your toddler starts dealing with them by kicking off. Whether you need to rearrange your day or pack some snacks, you may be able to cut down on at least some tantrums before they've even started.


Obviously all children are individuals, so if you are concerned about your child's behaviour, especially if it seems very different from their peers, do seek help from your GP or Health Visitor.


Find out more

You'll find more tips for dealing with toddler tantrums in the book Toddlers: An Instruction Manual

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