One of the hardest things about raising a toddler is the meltdowns. Babies cry and adolescents and teens can angst, but only toddlers have those screaming kicking meltdowns. When your toddler is showing signs of a tantrum and you aren’t able to stop it in time before it becomes a full breakdown, what can you do?

Child psychologists and experienced parents say not to argue, reason, plead, or get angry with your child. This won’t work because the child isn’t even listening anymore. They’re entirely focused on themselves and their own problems and emotions and trying to talk to them generally doesn’t work. Well, if you can’t do any of these things, how are you able to handle your toddler’s meltdown?

The first thing you can do is just accept that tantrums happen to toddlers and there’s nothing you can do about it. What you can do is just let them run their course and apply appropriate consequences afterwards. If their tantrum was because they couldn’t have their way or because they didn’t want to do something you told them to do, then a small talk and a timeout would be appropriate punishment or even talking away a privilege they enjoy for a short while.

If it’s just an emotional outburst because they’re frustrated or overwhelmed, what you can do is just sit next to them and simply tell them that you’re there and ready to talk when they’re have called down. Say something like “I know you’re angry. That’s ok. I’ll just sit here until you’re ready to be done.” You can even pull some examples from Love and Logic and empathize with them and say things like “You must feel really sad and angry right now, and I’m sorry you feel that way. It’s ok. We have lots of time to talk about it when you’re done.”

While you’re waiting for the meltdown to be over, you have some time to take a breath. Relax. The episode will soon be over and worrying and fussing won’t help it a single bit. Don’t be embarrassed if it happens out in public. The chances are good that there are a few parents in the audience that feel nothing but sympathy for you, not disgust or frustration. Take the time to collect your thoughts and be at peace with the situation. That’s the best mindset for you and your child once the fit is over.

Source: What to Do About Tantrums and Emotional Meltdowns. PsychAlive.

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