Toddlerhood is a time of great change, growth, and development. Parenting these little humans and helping them navigate life as they transition from babies to children and beyond, is full of fun, adventure, and plenty of challenges. A certain amount of frustration, whining, and complaining is completely normal, but there are things to consider if you begin to suspect you are parenting a child with more tantrums than normal.
Give Some Independence
Tantrums come in all shapes and sizes, but many stem from toddlers seeking independence and becoming frustrated when they cannot have it. Certain things are just not safe or appropriate ways for toddlers to exert independence. For example not matter how badly your three-year old wants to drive a car or use a knife, they simply won’t be able to. They could, however, help choose an outfit or pack snacks for a park outing. This may likely mean you letting go of a little control as a parent, but allowing them to have some autonomy will greatly decrease the tantrums for control. Decide how big of a deal it is to you if your toddler hits the grocery store wearing a superman cape or winter boots and tiara in May.
Set a Schedule
Setting a schedule for toddlers is helpful in many ways. It lessens the stress of unexpected things in both your lives and helps your little ones know what to expect. Obviously, not everything can be planned, but somethings can. Helping your child know when to expect snack time, television time, playtime, and nap time will help ease the transition from quiet play to wild play to rest.
Few things upset a toddler faster than an empty tummy, a lost favorite toy, or wet pants. Keep a few healthy kid friendly snacks and a change of clothes packed with you at all times. If you are prepared, not much can phase you.
Many toddlers resort to chronic tantrum throwing because it works. Consistency is key in dealing with toddlers. If you give them an answer, stick to it. If the tantrums don’t work, your little one will be much less likely to resort to them in order to get their way. Toddlers often throw tantrums, but will likely stop if they prove ineffective.
Find a Support Network
Being a parent is hard work. Surround yourself with people that will be a positive and helpful influence. Chances are, the whiny behavior you are seeing is completely normal, but don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to other parents, child life specialists if you suspect that the behavior you are witnessing is not normal. You can also take online courses and find curriculums like applied behavior analysis certification programs to help you better understand what your toddler should be experiencing and going through at this stage of life.
Just like all adults have different personalities, the same is true of toddlers. Some toddlers are more pleasant, complacent, and happy, while others tend to be whinier, more rebellious, and generally more difficult. As parents, we are not going to completely redefine a child’s personality, but we can equip them with the tools they need to help them ditch the perpetual tantrums and embrace the joys of childhood.
Author Bio: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.