Mindful Parenting,  Toddler Life

11 Things To Try During Your Toddler’s Next Temper Tantrum…

11 Things To Try During Your 
Toddler’s Next Temper Tantrum…
Instead of Losing Your Temper!
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    One of my first blog posts was called Where There’s A Temper Tantrum, where I reflected on what it must be like for my son, or any toddler for that matter, to go through a temper tantrum. I talked about how frustrating it must be for a toddler who is unable to properly express themselves. And I realized that Where There’s A Temper Tantrum,” there is an unmet need or desire that he’s trying to tell me about and just can’t! 


“Where there’s a tantrum, 
there’s frustration and an unmet 
need or desire.”


    We’ve all been there. You’re on your twelfth temper tantrum of the night, you’ve worked all day, you’re just trying to make it through to bedtime. Or it’s Saturday, you looked forward to spending all weekend with your little ones, but you’ve already had enough family time for one afternoon! Your toddler’s throwing tantrum after tantrum and nothing is changing the outcome. Your toddler throws himself on the floor and cries, and cries, and it’s just too easy to lose your you-know-what. Your toddler is getting on your nerves, and you hate feeling that!

    It’s way harder to remain calm, cool and collected than it is to just lose your shit and yell and scream until you get a reaction out of your toddler that isn’t just another tantrum. You want to scream and feel validated! You want them to understand that you’re just as fed up as they are! I know, I’ve been there; I’m far from perfect. It’s way easier for me to just scream than it is to try anything else. That requires a whole lot of extra control that sometimes I just don’t have at the end of the day! But I have to stop myself, because yelling at my son isn’t going to accomplish anything, let alone that he doesn’t even understand what I’m yelling about.

    This is just as hard for your toddler as it is for you. I know it doesn’t seem like such a hard thing for them to properly express themselves and tell you what’s wrong, but it is. I know; you’re doing the same thing over and over. You’re trying to remain unaffected and calm through your toddler’s many, many, many outbursts. No matter what you do, you can’t break the cycle, and it just keeps happening. 

“We need to start looking at temper tantrums 
as emotional communication, instead of 
behavioral outbursts.” – The Mom Blog WI

    Sometimes in the midst of a series of tempter tantrums it’s hard to remember to try something different. You’re tired. You’re at the end of your rope. You’ve endured fifteen temper tantrums in one hour over the most ridiculous things! It’s easy to get caught up in damage control and keep doing the same things. You keep getting the same results; your toddler, on the ground, screaming and crying because they can’t have their way. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. The next time you’re going through another unbearable temper tantrum, here’s a couple of things you can try to change your toddler’s attitude. These tips are just as much for you as they are for your toddler! 

Try a Toy Rotation…

    My son has a lot of toys. What toddler doesn’t? Eventually, those toys will no longer hold any appeal. Let me tell you something… Less is more! LESS is ALWAYS more! Don’t put out every single toy that your child has. We put away at least half of the toys that my son actually has and only put out maybe 1/4 of them at a time in his room. 

Related: Toy Minimalism | I Took Away All My Son’s Toys…

    Sometimes when my son keeps throwing tantrum after tantrum and I notice he isn’t being very self sufficient, I’ll go in his room and change a few things. I’ll spend time cleaning up his room. I try to get him to help me put things away and tidy up. I don’t necessarily like it when things are messy, and I can tell that my son appreciates a clean room. I’ll put away the toys that have been out for a couple of weeks and bring out some different ones from the closet that he hasn’t played with in awhile. And seeing his room clean actually makes me feel better, too!

    For a few days, I notice a complete change in his attitude. He’s actually entertained by the toys he has to play with and temper tantrums are down for a few days until he gets bored again. You can do this on your own or trade toys with a friend if you’re so lucky to have a friend with a child the same age as yours. 

Let Your Toddler Watch TV… 

    *Gasp* I know, I KNOW! “Terrible mom, how could she suggest such a thing, blah, blah, blah.” We all feel guilty about putting our children in front of a screen for some quiet and piece of mind, but sometimes they need that downtime. My son is definitely one of these toddlers. If your child is like mine, he spends 9 or so hours a day in daycare, and they are always doing something! They are running around outside, or playing games, or running in circles! THEY NEVER STOP! Even once we get home, my son has all this energy! 

    But my son also doesn’t know when to quit. He will be stumbling over himself and falling down and crying because he’s so tired and he just doesn’t know it. Sometimes he needs to sit down and take a minute to just RELAX, because he is always so busy! He doesn’t know how to just sit there for a moment and take five. He is always going, and after sitting down for 15 minutes to watch Sesame Street or Super Simple Songs, it’s amazing how much happier he is! We usually go without a major tantrum for the rest of the night. It’s the same as you or I needing to sit down and watch TV for half an hour after a long day.

Have a Snack with your Toddler…

    Now, I don’t enforce a strict meal schedule, yet. If my son wants a snack, I’m more than happy to give him one. My son’s not a small kid. He’s not fat, but he’s a very, very tall 2 year old. I can tell when he’s crabby because he’s hungry. You’d be surprised how quickly the world will change when you bust out some food. My mood directly correlates with the last time I’ve eaten, and my son is his mother’s son. If it’s been too long since he’s eaten, he can go from zero to 100 in less than a millisecond. 

Sit Down And Draw or Color with your Toddler… 

    It’s a great distraction! I will make an event out of; we go and sit in his booster at the table. Since I’m blogging, I’ll bring a notebook with and write and I’ll tell you, it keeps my son interested in drawing or coloring longer if I’m writing, too! It may only entertain your toddler for 15 minutes, but it can entirely alter the tension in the room. Take the time to bust out the coloring supplies and sit down with your toddler to draw for a few minutes. 
Download a New Educational App… 

    This is not a sponsored post. Though, it definitely should be, because I live and die by the Fisher Price Educational Apps! My favorite is the First Words App! My son loves it! He will actually sit there and press the learning blocks and say the names with the app, and it’s amazing to watch him absorb that new information. All of Fisher Price’s educational apps are great! They have one for learning animal sounds, learning the parts of the body, and so much more! We’ve been using these apps on occasion since my son was 6 months old. 

Spend a Little One-On-One Quality Time with your Toddler…

    If you’re like me, you’ve been working all day. Your little one has been in daycare all day and they probably miss you but don’t know how to show it. Take the time to sit down and play with them. I know it’s busy, and frustrating, because the second you sit down, they don’t actually want to play with you. My son literally just wants me in the room. But I do it anyway. I sit down with him for five minutes and watch and let him show me what he’s doing. And honestly, you’d probably spend five minutes dealing with another temper tantrum anyways, so what do you have to lose? You’d be surprised how much a little one-on-one time can do for you and your toddler. 

Stop and Cuddle with your Toddler for Five Minutes…

    I know you’re busy, momma. I know you don’t have time and there’s so much to do! I’m a working mom, and I know I only have one child. And I know there are moms out there who do so much more than I do with so much less! But the five minutes you’ll spend giving your child some much needed attention and love could change the course of the entire night. That’s five minutes you’ll spend fielding another temper tantrum, anyways. It’s at least worth a try, right? If it doesn’t work, have you really lost anything?

    When I lay down to cuddle with my son for a few minutes, I end up doing a few things that surprise me, and I think you’ll be surprised, too. I actually listen to myself breathe. Breathe! I’m usually all ramped up, my heart beating in my chest and my adrenaline running. I actually end up relaxing myself. Laying down and holding my son is just as much for him, as it is for myself. I come out of that quality snuggle time feeling so much better and at ease. 

Read a Book with Your Toddler…

    Or play a game, or look at flash cards together! Spend 2 minutes playing hind and seek, chase each other around the living room or play a cute game of peek-a-boo. Throw a sheet over their head and then pull it back off. You can literally do anything and lighten the mood and change your toddler’s mood. Get your toddler up off the floor and get them moving. Turn on a song and dance for five minutes. All it takes is 2 songs. Dance your heart out! It’ll make them smile. Put a goofy spin on it. Anything to… 

Make Your Toddler Laugh!!!

    Tickle them. Play their favorite game. Do something silly! Make them laugh right out loud!!! Make them laugh until their lungs give out, over and over again. It’s infectious, and you’ll find yourself laughing, too! It’ll lighten the mood and we all know that laughing releases endorphins that literally make you happy and lift your mood. If you can make your little one laugh for a couple of minutes, I guarantee it’ll change the atmosphere of the entire house. Those little laughs are so infectious. 

Go Run Around Outside for Ten or Fifteen Minutes… 

    Sometimes just a change in scenery is all it takes to make a break in the string of temper tantrums and make the nonsense stop. Take your little one(s) outside and let them burn off some of that pent up energy. Not only will it tire them out and get them that much closer to bedtime, but it’ll be refreshing for both of you. I’m so guilty of going outside and sitting on my phone while my son plays, which brings me to my final thing…
Put the Phone Away…

    If your toddler is anything like mine, he gets upset when I’m playing on my phone and “ignoring” him. He picks up on it right away! He will come and try to smack my phone out of my hands, climb into my lap, force his way between my arms or try and push the buttons. He knows; I’m not paying attention to him. I’m paying attention to my phone, and by coming over and being aggressive by trying to smack my phone, he’s also trying to tell me something; he wants my attention. He’s not trying to be rude or mean or anything else. He just can’t tell me that he wants me to look at him, or play with him. All he knows to do is interrupt what has my attention and try to put himself in my sights. 

“We need to start looking at temper tantrums as emotional communication, instead of behavioral outbursts.”

    And I’m not just saying this to make parents feel bad. Every once and a while I have an epiphany, and I spend a lot of time doing deep thinking, introspective reflection, and I realize some really meaningful stuff. I need to stop looking at my son’s temper tantrums as behavioral outbursts, too! He’s not trying to be awful. My son’s trying to communicate with me! He’s trying to tell me something. He’s probably not crying because he didn’t get his way.

    Okay, HALF the time he’s PROBABLY crying because he didn’t get his way. But the other half of the time? When he falls down and screams, and cries real tears and is just completely distraught? He’s not crying because I didn’t give him something, or because I didn’t let him go dig in the garbage. He’s upset because he can’t tell me that three days ago he threw a toy in there and he wants to go it! He’s crying because he can’t communicate, and I need to remember that and remind myself sometimes. I can’t even imagine how awful it would be if I couldn’t talk, if I couldn’t tell someone I was in pain, if I needed my flipping toy out of the trash after I had so stupidly put it in there and now I WANT IT, but you won’t let me have it!!! 

    I’m trying my very best lately to be a better mom and to be more patient with my son, because I know patience is my biggest downfall as a parent. And it was a very profound moment for me when I realized that maybe, just maybe my son isn’t throwing a temper tantrum because he’s a brat or just for the sake of being upset. Perhaps he really is upset, and he just can’t tell me. I’ve been trying hard to put myself in my son’s shoes and I like to share that with you guys. I hope you enjoyed reading. As always, keep on loving those little ones as only you know how, and be a little more patient with them this week. 


2 Comments

  • fibromomblog

    My kids are mostly grown up now but I thought your list was really good.i remember how hard it could be when they threw tantrums and you just couldn’t figure it what was wrong. I like how you have an arsenal of tricks to turn the situation around.

  • Tresa Strohkirch

    Hi Fibro Mom Blog!

    Thank you so much for saying so! You just made my day. I really appreciate that. I just hope that I can maybe help other Mommas see Parenting and tantrums from a different angle. The possibility of even helping one momma to try something different and find something that works is an amazing idea. So thank you very much for commenting and sharing. ❤️

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