There is no way that I believe myself to be an expert at toddler tantrums – but I do feel that my experience with Annabelle has taught me a lot about them. She didn’t start throwing tantrums when the books say she might, so we thought we had escaped the terrible stage. We were wrong. I don’t know how to handle a toddler temper tantrum, but I can tell you what works for us.
Annabelle’s temper was evident from a very early age, but real, full blow tantrums truly began towards the end of my pregnancy a year ago. If you think about it, the beginning of the fits were justified. Annabelle was about to go through a huge life experience and even though she is advanced for her age, very aware of what’s going to happen, she still had trouble processing that she would become a big sister and expressing her feelings towards the change. The tantrums have escalated, died down, and then shot back up with intensity at the end of her school year. We had a few bad weeks, but may have it under control right now. We are also using a behavior chart with rewards and it seems to work for the time being.
We still struggle with Annabelle’s temper tantrums around once a week. No one really believes us when we say they’re scary, intense, and seemingly impossible to end until they witness it with their own eyes. Sometimes she seems to go to a completely different place and I can’t see her in those big brown eyes anymore. I know that this is only a stage and once she becomes better at controlling her emotions, we will look back on these times and laugh. My parents can tell you I’m living, breathing proof that the evil twin who used to take my place during a tantrum WILL vanish someday.
For now… here is what we do when Annabelle seems to turn into a toddler tornado.
How to Handle a Toddler Temper Tantrum
Stay calm. Don’t lose your cool.
Remember – you’re the adult.
Refrain from escalating a tantrum with punishments.
Contain the situation.
Talk it out afterwards.
Let your child know you love her.