Dealing With Toddler Tantrums

Dealing with tantrums at Miss A’s age (1.5 years) is such a tricky one to monitor. How much do you stop them from doing, once they have a tantrum and how hard do you continue with your plans by ‘distracting’ them from the thing that is causing them to have a meltdown?

At 1.5 years old they don’t understand that they are doing the ‘wrong’ thing, or being ‘naughty’. They just think I want to do that and you are not letting me. It is tricky to judge the best way to handle the situation without giving in or letting them control the situation.

When do you step in? When do you give out a ‘punishment’, and I use that term loosely as it is more of a stop them from doing what they want rather than a smack response to a ‘tantrum’.

Research on ‘Tantrums’ has been something we have done a lot of lately. How do you handle them, best ways to avoid them, tips on stopping them before they escalate, why do they happen, etc.

It is just the age and most kids go through them at some stage. Hands up if your child has been there? To the parents who skipped them, well done and you sure didn’t miss out on much.

Scenario Question:

You are taking them out somewhere that they want to go- the playground, the shops, the park, the pool, the indoor play centre, the animal park, wherever they love to go. When a tantrum arises for whatever reason.

Do you:

  1. Distract them from the cause of the tantrum?
  2. Let them lay on the floor scream and shout and get it out of their system?
  3. Persist with the task at hand and continue on with your plans?
  4. Pick them up and try and cuddle them fighting the kicks and screams?
  5. Pick them up and take them back home and say sorry you were being silly and that we are not going anymore?

The hardest part is keeping your cool and trying to ignore the fact that everyone is probably looking at you and sending out some type of judgement about your child and how you are dealing with it. You’re either being too harsh or looking like you aren’t doing enough. There will always be people to criticize you but you need to just keep calm and do what you think is best for the situation and your child. Some children respond to things better than other things.

We pick our battles and decide is the situation really worth making a big fuss over or can we get away with trying to remove her from the situation or distracting her somehow if it isn’t that big of a problem.

Dealing with tantrum tactics that we use:

  • Ignore her- we ignore her and make it very clear we are doing so and when she stops being silly, as she realises we aren’t watching her, we bring our attention back to her and try and talk to her again.
  • Pick her up and take her away from the cause of the tantrum and try talk to her. Sometimes it is pointless even trying to talk to her at first so I just pick her up and walk.
  • Distract her with something else to look at or play with
  • Whisper in her ear
  • Tell her to ‘talk’ to us rather than scream or yell
  • Give her a cuddle if she lets us
  • Try and tickle her if she isn’t in too much of a meltdown- as a tantrum is building, trying to approach it before it gets bad is always a key.


Do you use any of these tactics? Or are there any others that work for you? 


By Clare at Relaxed Parenting

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