Tantrums: Why it Happens and How You Can Prevent It

Kid Crying

Kid CryingA minute ago your kid is super happy and the next thing you know is they’re throwing a tantrum — flailing, howling, and thrashing around like there’s no tomorrow. Unfortunately, tantrums are a sort of regular occurrence when you have a toddler at home. But why, you might ask?

Why Do Tantrums Happen?

Well, place yourself in the shoes of your kid. It could be frustrating to be incapable of saying exactly what you mean or seeing that block tower you built fall over because you couldn’t control your own hands. Aside from these common everyday scenarios, the following are common causes of tantrums:

  • Boredom, fatigue, or hunger
  • Overstimulation and the feeling of not being in control
  • Having too many or too few limits, and asserting a newfound independence
  • Feeling upset of their limited skills to communicate and express their feelings

Could You Prevent Tantrums?

Although tantrums are more often than not inevitable, KidsTown, LLC and other preschool educators list the following tactics to help you fend them off:

  • Prevent the most common tantrum causes. Don’t overschedule or leave for the grocery prior to your kid’s afternoon naptime. If unavoidable, make sure your kid has eaten and that you bring some books or toys.
  • Consider your kid’s unique personality. For kids, a regular schedule is vital because it provides a sense of comfort and control for them since they know what to expect. Some kids love spontaneity, though. This means that if your kid easily gets stressed with schedules, don’t schedule every single thing.
  • Offer options whenever applicable. Being able to decide on some things like “Would you want bacon and eggs or cereal for breakfast?” helps your kid feel some control.
  • Avoid saying “no” as much as possible, but set clear limits. Explain the consequences of what they want to do and avoid yelling and getting upset.
  • Avoid saying “maybe” because in toddler speak, this often means yes. Rather than saying “maybe,” be definite and say yes or no. Negotiate a compromise if possible.

Put simply, tantrums can and do happen — but you could learn to deal with it. In addition, you could certainly prevent a tantrum from happening by learning how to gauge your kid’s feelings and emotional cues. It’s all about the right timing and practice.