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How to handle Toddler Tantrums

How to handle Toddler Tantrums

How to handle toddler tantrums is a topic discussed between my mums group frequently.

For months I had nothing much to add to the conversation, my little ray of sunshine was pretty calm – oh lucky me! Until, well, that changed. And you don’t really know a toddler tantrum until you’ve experienced one from your own.

How to handle Toddler Tantrums - How to deal with toddler tantrums how to stop toddler tantrums

For years before I became a mum I’d witnessed the supermarket meltdowns, the parents standing in despair as their little treasures would throw themselves on to the floor and scream blue murder.

“What bad parents!” I’d thought.  “Pick that child up and tell it off!”.  Like it was that easy.  How naive and judgmental I was!  Don’t worry, I learned my lesson.

So now as the parent of a nearly 3 year old, do I know the answer to curing toddler tantrums?  Well unfortunately I do not but I do have some advice from some wonderful mums that might help.  Along with some funny stories!

And let’s face it, when you’re faced with an out-of-nowhere, hysterical, un-moving tantruming toddler of your own, you’ll try anything to extinguish it!

Over to the ‘experts’:

“When my 3 year old is having a tantrum I tell him I love him and that I need a cuddle. It stops him straight away and he always gives me the cuddle with a ‘luh you mummy’!”

From Sian at Quite Frankly She Said

“Toddler tantrums are stressful at the best of times and even more so when they happen in public.  Trying to keep your cool and ignoring the behaviour can be difficult but sometimes you just need to let them get it out of their system – no matter where you are.

When Roo was about 2 1/2 years old we were shopping in the supermarket.  She was sitting in the seat of the trolley having a good tantrum (cue the screaming, red face with arms and legs going all over the place).  As I was waiting at the checkout she was in full flow and suddenly there was a tap on my shoulder from a shop assistant who asked if I’d like to move to another checkout as it might be quicker.  I turned and replied ‘she is not the first child to have a tantrum and she won’t be the last’.  She screamed through the whole checkout/payment but had calmed herself down by the time I’d loaded the trolley and left the store.”

Sarah at Boo Roo & Tigger Too

“My daughter has new shoes. They’re size 5, patent black, and have a butterfly embroidered on each toe. If I were 17 months old, I’d be totally jealous. As it is, I’m 17 months multiplied by 22 (no need to work it out – the answer is oldmaaaan), and I still think they’re damn cute. (Not quite so taken by the flashing red lights in the heels, but she’s mesmerised).

We went swimming today, and everything was going swimmingly (yep, I totally did), until it came to getting changed. At home she had been insanely excited about putting on her new costume, but when the moment came… She didn’t want to remove those shoes (I sort of didn’t blame her).

So, bearing in mind I was reasoning with a one year old, how did I resolve this dilemma? I’d love to impart some sage pearls of wisdom at this juncture – but instead I shall tell you what actually went down…

I sent up a vague (disingenuous) prayer for help, and a divine intervention of serendipity followed: The cubicle next to us broke out into a song from my daughter’s Sing and Sign class, which was enough to distract her from the shoes long enough to get her changed (kids are fickle at this age).

Of all things though, I’m not sure why this is the prayer that was chosen to be answered. Mind you, I did recently wish for some butterfly embroidered shoes (size 5) with a smashing heel…”

Kate at The Less-Refined Mind

And finally, I love this post from Beth at Twinderelmo who lists the 37 things her toddler threw a tantrum over…in one day!

For me, I find distraction works the best and when a tantrum commences I try my best to think of something to change the subject as quickly as possible along the lines of “Look at that!” or “Who did you play with at daycare today?”

I frantically try and think of something (anything!) that will make her switch her mind to thinking about something else and forget what she was throwing a fit about seconds before.

I always try my best to keep my voice calm and speak slowly to her if she is very wound up.  Matching her pitch and volume just leads to her getting more worked up.

It works a lot of the time – not all though!  Generally a biscuit (!) helps if everything else fails.  Bad bad mummy!

Do you have any advice on how to handle toddler tantrums?

Or do you have any funny stories of your own?

How to handle Toddler Tantrums - How to deal with toddler tantrums how to stop toddler tantrums

Linked to Honest Mum, You Baby Me Mummy & Mr & Mrs T Plus Three





  1. N.
    / 11:52 am

    Toddler tantrums can be insanely stressful and I’m a little embarrassed to say my 2 year old has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion ???? But like you say, a tantrum doesn’t last forever, it passes and life goes on. I’ve tried the cuddles method a lot too and it usually works :)

    • / 3:15 pm

      Thankfully it does pass! I will also admit that I’ve cried too once – it was an emotional day! x

  2. Sarah Stockley (@kipperscurtains)
    / 6:00 am

    I used to try and ignore the tantrum, once my daughter who was probably 4 at the time had a huge tantrum at my Dad’s house, I couldn’t calm her down so I took her in the garden and sat on her (gently ;-0) it didn’t work!! Sometimes distraction is the best way. Sarah #TheList

    • / 12:11 pm

      Hee hee I’ll try anything too! x

  3. Honest Mum (@HonestMummy)
    / 8:05 am

    Distraction too but my youngest and my 6 year old are really pushing boundaries here. Fab post full of more fab posts! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

    • / 1:21 pm

      Thanks lovely – ah when there are two at it at once it must be tough sometimes! Double trouble :) x

  4. / 8:58 pm

    Oh we have all been there in the middle of the supermarket or crowded restaurant when our toddlers decide they have had enough of waiting nicely by your side and decide to either throw themselves on the floor or just stand there screaming in your face (I recently had this at the swimming pool with no support from other mums but people talking about us in the cubicle which was lovely?!). I find that distractions do help and most of the time work, otherwise I find myself wrestling Mia out of places trying not to lose it myself. Toddlers are not easy to pick up and drag out of anywhere I find! :)

    • / 1:39 pm

      I just don’t understand how they can make themselves so HEAVY! It isn’t as simple as picking them up and moving them away is it. Horrible that you overhead the mums talking :(

  5. The Mama Files (@MamaFiles)
    / 7:37 am

    Such a great topic… I’m new to these myself and have no real advice except distract, distract, distract… And the mum above who stayed in the check-out with a screaming toddler – why wouldn’t you take the offer of a quicker exit?! I bloody would every time :) I was at Officeworks recently when my 17-month-old threw a real humdinger and they didn’t even MAKE me go through the check-out! They took me off to the side with an EFTPOS machine and it was super quick and I was outta there. I could’ve kissed them for speeding us through :)

    • / 1:44 pm

      Distraction is our best weapon so far too! That is so nice of Officeworks to have done that for you :)

  6. Hannah - Budding Smiles
    / 7:38 am

    Some very funny stories! Toby’s been having tantrums from 10 months old and at 19 months he’s been upping the ante lately! Distraction is a must xx #TheList

    • / 10:45 am

      Oh it so is – if only I was a quicker thinker sometimes ha! x x

  7. crummymummy1
    / 6:26 am

    I’ve been really lucky in that BB didn’t really have tantrums – I don’t think I’ll be so lucky with Little B though! #thelist

    • / 10:46 am

      Aww I hope you are – I think a lovely calm mummy like you helps a lot! x x

  8. Kat @ Eat.Love.Live
    / 3:06 am

    I feel like at 18 months the toddler tantrums have started but I know that we have just scraped the surface and there’s worse to come. I’ll be remembering some of these tips. Thanks for sharing #thelist

    • / 10:47 am

      I hope they help – or that you don’t get them! x x

  9. islandliving365
    / 8:06 pm

    Oh those toddler tantrums are a test and why do they always happen when you are out and about. Mine once had a tantrum because I wouldn’t crawl around the supermarket like I cat. In the end we agreed on a compromise and I flew like a bird round the supermarket instead. Yep I drew some strange looks but at least youngest wasn’t lying on the floor screaming her head off :-) #thelist

    • / 11:06 am

      They really are, aren’t they! Ha ha that’s so funny – oh I can picture that! x

  10. / 7:14 pm

    Distraction definitely one of the best ways I have found for ending a tantrum, it doesn’t always work though. Biscuits, on the other hand, they always work!xx #TheList

    • / 11:06 am

      Both of those are winning so far – after that, I have no clue so grateful for the advice above! x

  11. Kate Tunstall, Refined Prose
    / 6:42 pm

    Some great advice here, and such a brill idea for a post! Thanks for including me, Lovely! So sorry it’s taken so long for me to comment. Xxx

    • / 11:07 am

      Thank you so much lovely and loved your story! x

  12. Rach
    / 8:25 pm

    Some great tips here. My previously incredibly calm and laidback baby has become the most tantrum prone toddler in recent months. He’s coming up to 2 and a half and don’t I know how Terrible the Two’s can be at the moment!! Great post. #brilliantblogs

    • / 8:28 pm

      Oh the change is so sudden isn’t it! But then just as you panic they go back to being sweet and lovely again (thankfully!) x

  13. kaylaloves
    / 7:59 pm

    My son has recently started throwing a lot of tantrums but luckily they don’t last long! #brillblogposts

    • / 8:00 pm

      They’re not much fun but I’m hoping, as always, it’s just a phase! x

  14. Sian QuiteFranklySheSaid
    / 7:45 pm

    Ah thank you for including me – I love all the other advice and stories!x

    • / 7:47 pm

      Oh thank you so much for contributing! x

  15. Sarah
    / 8:17 am

    I find distraction usually works too, and in our house if all else fails chocolate raisins usually do the trick!

    • / 9:45 am

      Oh you’re absolutely right – chocolate raisins work very well in our house too! x

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