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Handling Toddler Tantrums – Conscious Parenting Techniques


How to handle toddler tantrums is the most commonly asked question by parents. Tantrums can b difficult to handle and result in cranky and unhappy toddler and unhappy parents. Not a great situation to be in!. Read on to see what causes a tantrum, what you can do and what to avoid.

Toddler tantrums can be very hard to handle for parents!

They start from sometime around 18 months or so & usually go on till 3-4 years of age. Also called as terrible 2’s, these little beings are famous for doing random things at random times with no reasoning in most cases. They cry, complain, scream, hit, kick, throw stuff and what not, and we adults are sometimes clueless to what they are up to. We lose our calm sometimes, do something which we ourselves regret later. I have not seen any parent who has not had his/her big share of toddler tantrums!

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What Causes A Tantrum

  • Communication needs
  • Battle for control
  • They are having a hard time & seeking our help
  • To seek attention
  • Reflection of parents/caregivers
  • Incorrect expectation from parents

Toddler Brain Demystified

Toddler’s Neocortex, thinking part of the brain, that does higher order thinking, is NOT developed fully & it’s development continues through the mid 20s.

Functions of Neocortex include :

  • Self awareness
  • Logic & reasoning
  • Ability to control impulses
  • Understanding consequences
  • Problem solving
  • Empathy
  • Attention
  • Understanding & interpreting emotions

As per the book Whole Brain Child, young kids are physically not able to access the upper part of the brain (which is used for understanding logic and reasoning) due to big feelings they are experiencing at the moment. So first we need to help them with handling the surge of emotions, help them calm down before we expect them to understand any of our logics.

Handling Tantrums – What Does Not Work

  • Leave them crying for some time
  • Ask them to stop crying/whining
  • Explain/criticize what wrong they did
  • Punishments
  • Timeouts
  • Explaining consequences
  • Rewards
  • Ask them to apologize
  • Become embarrassed yourself

Handling Tantrums – What Works

  • Understand the reason
  • Acknowledge and accepting the big feeling & let them cry assuring you are there for them
  • Give a tight hug
  • Keep calm & use calm voice
  • Unconditional love

Talk It Out Gently!

To conclude let us understand that

  • When they are throwing a tantrum, they are not giving us hard time, they are having a hard time!
  • Give them appropriate control in daily lives, set a routine, understand their needs, avoid tantrum provoking situations & give unconditional love
  • Our kids require us most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend our whole time trying to correct them

And I end this article with some brilliant quotes that we parents need to be reminded frequently 🙂

This blog was first published in authors blog – The K junction.

Understanding Emotions and Feelings

One thing that has helped us in handling toddler tantrum is talking to kids as young as two and a half years old about emotions and feeling. Unless  we tell them what they are experiencing, how do we expect them to express what they are going through?

These set of flashcards have helped us talk to toddlers and preschoolers about their feelings and emotions.

You can get it downloadable version from Etsy and print it for your use 🙂 

emotions flashcards for kids

emotions flashcards for kids

Parenting books that we have loved and that have helped us understand how to handle toddler tantrums

Video Review of Whole Brain child Book

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You may also want read Age wise activities that you can do with your kids for their growth and development.

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I'm Kuhoo, mom to a charming little prince A, who came into our lives after many years, wounds, scars, prayers & struggles. I write about my adventures in parenting, early learning, Montessori, healing and other creative stuff. My Blog - http://the-k-junction.blogspot.in

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2 Comments
  1. Oh my gosh we are seriously going through the tantrum phase in our house now! Excellent advice. Thank you!

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