How To Effectively Deal With Toddler Tantrums

If you have ever been in the path of “Tantrum Toddler,” you know all too well that we are not talking about a Sci-Fi movie!

I can hear the gnarling and gnashing of teeth and the high pitched tones of anarchy twirling in my head, just thinking about Tantrum Toddler!

So what can you do to ward off “Tantrum Toddler”? Here are a few suggestions.

Ready Steady Calm

Instead of raising your voice for the “NO, QUIT IT, STOP IT” moment, simply speak with a calm, objective, but authoritative voice.

This tone allows you to set the tone for teaching your child about how the world works but in helpful, mannerly, and expected actions. This will take some time, but it will pay off. One day you will find that you no longer have to say: No shoes on the couch. Totes are not sledding for stairs. Keep all the chair legs on the floor. Bathtubs are not for science experiments.

By the way, this one still works with my teenage daughters, just saying!


This one may take some practice, but you can do it! You know the minute you think you are in the clear to go to bed? Bath’s done, hair brushed, teeth brushed, and you’re tucking into bed when “Toddler Tantrum” says, “Play!” You have one of two options here run screaming or affirm and redirect. You simply say, “Yes, we will have so much fun playing tomorrow. I can’t wait! You dream of the games we will play. What fun! Sweet dreams, my love!” So, in essence, you have affirmed what your toddler has said, but redirect the focus to tomorrow.

Imagination Station- Move Over

Or take a quick minute, go meet your child at the imagination station. Yes, that means you will have to use your imagination just a bit. Take a minute to imagine with your child about what you will play tomorrow. Will you be pirates sailing the high seas or a princess?

This works great anytime you want to distract your child from evolving into “Tantrum Toddler” and gives them time to stay in a comfortable place while you come up with a game plan.

Play Ball

So, by now, you know that “Toddler Tantrum” shows no mercy! Kool-Aid on the carpet because your dog was thirsty, toothpaste on the couch to hold the army man on the cliff, markers on the wall to draw an amp for Dora, toys stuck in the toilet as you hear “Submarine launch!” So as much as you want to yell “NO!”, “STOP IT!” or “QUIT IT!” Take a deep breath and offer a related option- granted, it may take some creativity. But offer an alternative activity. For example- Fill the bathtub or large bowl for the submarine launch, leave blank paper out for drawing maps, tell the army that the tub is a great place to hang out on the walls, or how the dog just has to have Kool-Aid in a bowl.

Toy Story

Toys, my friend, can help with just about any pre “Toddler Tantrum” mitigation measure. Kids are usually immersed in play and do not want to stop. So when it is time to eat dinner, take a bath, get ready for school, or any activity that interrupts play, children often get upset. So ask what toys they want to take along. You can even ask what they are playing and carry the game into the activity that interrupts play. Toddler Tantrum avoided

Look What I can do

This one is probably one of my favorites. He won’t come to the sink to brush his teeth before bed. Remember- how independent toddlers want to be? Toddler Tantrum would not want you picking her up and making her brush her teeth.

Tell her she can either walk to the sink by herself or you’ll carry her to the sink. Remember – not letting him do it himself is a punishment all its own. Give her a chance to comply; if that doesn’t work, then do the old counting trick, warning her of the consequences. Warn again before three, and if it’s still no go, then just calmly do what you said you would. On a good day, thank her for listening when she cringes before the prospect of not doing something all by herself.

What’s Next

Want to leave the playground without setting off the next attack of Tantrum Toddler? Start prior to letting your child know you are leaving. Find or think of favorable circumstances that will help in your movement from eh park to home. This allows you to focus your child on what is next. Maybe there is a dog nearby that the kids would want to say hi to or see if they could pet or talk about the fun activity you will do at home. Can the game your child is playing be played at home, is there be yummy pasta or ice cream? Really talk up the next activity, but be sure you follow up on it. Don’t give Tantrum Toddler and opportunity to resurface!

Leave a Comment