- Firstly make sure your toddler is safe and cannot harm anyone else, if not try to find a safe space nearby. If your toddler is kicking, hitting or biting you remind him that it’s OK to be angry and feel the need to kick/hit/bite but it’s not OK to do it to you because it hurts, offer him a safe acceptable alternative instead.
- Next take a few seconds to regulate your own emotions. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that your toddler is ‘having a hard time’ not ‘giving you a hard time’ and as the adult it is your job to help your toddler to feel safe, respected and heard in order that they may learn the skill of emotional self-regulation when they are older. Do this for as long as you need to in order to respond calmly to your toddler.
- Try to ignore any onlookers, remember your long term parenting goals and take comfort in them knowing that you are doing your best for your toddler and focussing on their long term personality as well as the short term.
- Let your toddler know you are there for them if and when they want you. Just a simple “Mummy is here if you would like a hug” is enough.
- Name the emotions your toddler is experiencing and use the ‘say what you see’ approach to validate your toddler’s feelings “I can see you are very sad that I didn’t buy you the toy, you really wanted it didn’t you? It mad you really angry when I said no, I’m sorry”.
- Remind your toddler again that you are there for them “when you’re ready let me know and we can have a cuddle and I can help you to calm down.”
- When your toddler decides to come to you give him a big hug and tell him how much you love him. Remind him that it’s OK to be angry and sad.
- When the tantrum is over remember it is just that – over. It’s time to continue with your day, leaving the tantrum and any feelings it evoked in you in the past.
These tips are taken from my book ‘ToddlerCalm: A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents’
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