5 toddler tantrum and hissy fit fixers
Toddlers can be difficult creatures, but but never lose sight of the fact that difficult toddler behaviour is commonplace, and there are things you can do to help get past the tantrums and hissy fits.
Don't be dismayed, though, there are some things to help get past the tantrums and hissy fits.
Toddler tantrums and hissy fits: Refusing to do as asked
It's so frustrating when you ask your toddler to do something and he either completely ignores you, or stamps his foot and yells: "No!". It can be hard to remain calm when your child either acts like they haven't heard you, or you feel they're on the verge of a huge toddler tantrum or hissy fit. Despite feeling like you want to tear your hair out, you really do need to remain calm. If your child is refusing to do as asked, here are some tips for dealing with tantrums:
- Get down to his level and look him straight in the eye so you have his attention
- Speak calmly and clearly
- Make sure you are giving him an instruction and not a request. eg: "Please pick up your toys" instead of "I wish you'd pick up your toys"
- If he still refuses give him a consequence (time out or taking a special toy away)
- Make sure you always follow through with any threat or consequence, so he knows you're serious
Toddler tantrums and hissy fits: When he hits you
It's not uncommon for a toddler to lash out and hit or bite a parent in the throes of a tantrum. Obviously, while he's clearly upset and frustrated, it's behaviour that must be dealt with swiftly.
- As soon as your toddler hits, react. If you're holding him, put him down. Quickly remove him from the situation.
- If he's old enough, give him some time out.
- Tell your toddler that hitting is not allowed and will result in immediate time out.
- At this stage don't give long explanations to why what he did was wrong. Just let him know it's wrong.
- Later, when the tantrum has subsided, explain to your toddler that hitting hurts and is never okay.
Toddler tantrums and hissy fits: Refuses a day sleep
It can be very frustrating when you're hanging out for that little break in the middle of the day and your toddler refuses to sleep. Plans of some quiet time to yourself can turn into anxious moments of putting your toddler back down and coaxing him to sleep.
If he is refusing to nap during the day, some things to consider include:
- Are you putting him down at the right time? He may not be tired enough and you may have to put him down a bit later.
- Is he overtired? If nap time brings on a hissy fit, you may have to put him down a little earlier as he may be overtired.
- Does your toddler really need a nap? If he's struggling to sleep during the day or stays awake late when he does have a sleep it may be time to consider getting rid of the day sleep altogether.
- If he really needs a sleep, then just be consistent even if you're worried about a tantrum. Keep putting/laying him back in his bed/cot. Keep it up for about an hour, before giving up.
If he absolutely refuses to sleep try and insist on some quiet time. This can involve him looking at some books quietly in his bed or playing quietly in his room. This will give him and you some rest time.
Toddler tantrums and hissy fits: When he won't share
Sharing can be a very difficult concept for a toddler who believes the world revolves around him. Teaching your toddler to share is a valuable, but difficult, thing to do. The first way to prevent sharing issues is to talk about it at home. Play games that involve turn taking or point out in books or TV shows when characters are sharing.
When you're out visiting, this is when sharing can become difficult. If your child has a special toy that he just won't share it may be wise to leave it at home or pack it away when you have visitors, this will save arguments.
If your child has trouble sharing, watch playdates closely and encourage him to share. Say things like: "Which toy do you think your friend might like to play with?" If he shares well, praise him.
If a fight ensues over a toy and your child won't share, make sure there is a consequence. Either put him in time out or take the toy away so no-one can play with it. This is the most effective way of teaching your child to share.
Toddler tantrums and hissy fits: The public meltdown
Anyone who has been the parent of a toddler has been there at one time or another - the big public meltdown. An epic tantrum or hissy fit can happen in the middle of the supermarket, at the end of a playdate or in the playground - and it can be one of the most difficult and embarrassing parts of parenting. While the best way to solve serious tantrums is to prevent them, by going home before they are tired, hungry, etc. this isn't always possible. So, what's the best thing to do when your child has a huge meltdown?
- Stay calm during the tantrum - it can be hard but if you're upset or aggravated it can make it worse for your toddler.
- Wait it out. Ignore the tantrum or wait for it to pass. Once he's in full flight, it's unlikely he'll accept reason or be distracted.
- Make sure there's no reward for the tantrum. If gets what he wants by having a tantrum, he'll just keep doing it.
- If he's completely out of control or you can't ignore it, stop whatever you're doing and leave. It may be hard, but it will help.
The older your child gets, the less frequent these hissyfits will occur. So remember, whatever the case may be - toddler tantrums won't last forever!
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