How to Calm Down a Toddler
Coping with their kids’ tantrums is one of the difficult tasks that parents need help with. Young children often don’t find enough words to express what they need or want, which makes them express themselves physically, making them aggressive and leading to tantrums.
Tantrums usually happen when children become overwhelmed by their own feelings. As a parent, you often tend to often comfort to your visibly upset kid with hugs or words, or sometimes even with their favorite snack or an hour of YouTube Kids. However, not many parents are aware of ways to calm down their toddler, and more importantly, teach them to calm themselves.
While many parents believe that tantrums occur out of the blue, the fact of the matter is that melt downs or explosions in toddlers actually occur as a result of interpersonal interactions. However, there is no one-size-fits-all method to deal with toddler tantrums. This is something that you need to work on yourself, as a parent, and find a method that works best for your child, for which you should start by studying the tantrums.
Potential Red Flags
Following are some styles of tantrums that are widely considered potential red flags:
Though not very common, one red flag you shouldn’t miss is your children injuring themselves. Some toddlers are known to pinch themselves, bang their head against the wall, bite, scratch or hit themselves when they get upset. While this can happen due to various reasons, for the children though, this is a guaranteed way to make their parents come running.
First off, this can be toward things or people. But, you don’t really have to be concerned if your toddler gets occasionally aggressive. This is because, kids at this age are basically trying to find their place in the world, trying to figure out ways to express themselves, and the right place, time and way for the same. Therefore, this behavior is completely normal. However, if your kid gets beyond the occasional aggressiveness and you find him/her being consistently aggressive toward a person and/or being fiercely destructive toward things, then you need to look deeper.
The duration of your child’s tantrum is another factor that needs your attention. Literally set a timer on your phone and time your kid’s tantrum to know the exact time it lasted, because with these situations, even a five-minute tantrum can seem like it lasted for hours. Typically, toddlers’ tantrums are known to last between 90 seconds and five minutes. But, if your kid’s tantrums tend to last way longer, say more than 20 minutes, almost always, there might be other issues that require your attention.
Yes, as a parent, you are likely to experience days that feel like all your kid did that day was throw tantrums. If you notice that your child throws several tantrums a day, every single day, several days a week, there is definitely something you need to worry about.
Tips to Calm Down a Toddler
Remember, when your kid throws a tantrum, explodes, or melts down, it is actually a call for your help. Therefore, the very first thing you should focus on is to remain calm yourself, because the calmer you are, the calmer will be your child. Lower your voice, but keep it steady. And when you talk, always get down to your kid’s level and maintain eye contact at all times.
There is definitely a cause for every tantrum and you can certainly help your kid fix the situation. All you need to do is analyze the cause and provide the appropriate solution.
Being understanding to what your child feels is a vital step towards calming him/her down. Hold their hand, give them a hug, or put your hand around their arm to let them know that you care, and tell them that it’s okay to feel the way they do, regardless of whether it is frustration, anger, or any other emotion.
There are parents who leave their kids alone or punish them when they throw a tantrum and require calming down. Remember that each child is different; while some kids may want to be hugged or held during this phase, other may want to be left alone. Even with the latter, make sure that you stay close by and reassure them that things will be alright.
Teach Relaxation Techniques
When things are fine and no one is upset, sit with your child and teach them some techniques to relax themselves when they have a meltdown. Teach them to take a deep breath and practice the same with them. Rock them slowly, play their favorite music or something soothing, or do something that you both love doing together.
Create a Diversion
Get your kid interested and engaged in something different so he/she forgets about the tantrum they just had. Even when you are heading out, always make sure that you have your bag filled with stuff for diversion, from books to toys to their favorite snacks. With distractions like these, you will find it easy to prevent a major meltdown.
Give Them Incentives
This applies only to some situations. Say your kid has to sit through a long prayer ceremony in church, or had to sit put for a long meal in a restaurant. During situations like these, you can certainly give your kid some incentives. For instance, let your kid know beforehand that if he/she behaves at the restaurant throughout the meal, then they get their dessert from their favorite ice cream place or that they can watch a video before going to bed.
Once again, remember that the approach that works for one child may not always be the right one for another child. Even if it takes time, try out a few techniques and see how your kid responds. Stop being critical and start being understanding and curious. YOU are your child’s expert, so work towards it and you will certainly succeed.