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Temper tantrums can be frustrating, especially when they happen outside the house. It’s important to know that tantrums are a natural part of your child’s development and understanding the reasons behind a temper tantrum can help you diffuse them effectively.


Why tantrums happen

Toddlers often find it difficult to express themselves. This difficulty then turns into frustration. Frustration turns into a tantrum. Tantrums help to develop the neural pathways in your child’s brain that will help them to manage stress when they grow up.


When do they start and end?

By around 18 months old, temper tantrums will likely be a common occurrence in your toddler. However, by four-years-old when your child can talk a bit more, tantrums will become far less common. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of tantrums. Knowing the differences between the two will help you spot the signs and diffuse the tantrum quickly and easily.


Distress tantrum

When your child is finding it difficult to communicate their feelings and needs, they become distressed. Here are some top tips to help you diffuse a distress tantrum:

  • Use a calm, reassuring voice and manner.
  • Offer a simple choice.
  • Find a distraction (a toy for example).
  • Use soothing tones and gently hold your child.
  • Try to understand what your child is trying to communicate. Find the cause, stop the tantrum.


Control tantrums

A control tantrum is where your child is using angry and disruptive behaviour to manipulate you into submission. Here are some top tips to help you respond to a control tantrum:

  • Don’t give your child an audience.
  • Do not argue, reason, persuade or negotiate.
  • Don’t “kiss it better”.
  • Give a clear, firm “no”.
  • Use humour to help diffuse the situation.
  • Use time out as a last resort.


Hitting, biting, kicking and fighting

Your child will occasionally bite and hit you or another child or parent. Toddlers are often just curious and may not understand that this behaviour is something that hurts and is not acceptable. Here are some top tips to help you deal with this physical behaviour:

  • Don’t hit, bite or kick back.
  • Put your child in another room.
  • Talk to them about what’s upsetting them.
  • Reward good behaviour, never bad behaviour.

Please note that just because your toddler is sometimes a little physical, this does not mean that they will grow up to be aggressive.


Tantrums outside the house

A temper tantrum can occur at any time. However, if you’re going somewhere unfamiliar, take a moment to explain to your children where you’re going and involve them in any helpful activities whenever you can.

Two tips to keep in mind wherever you go with your children are:

  • Take a few healthy snacks and a drink for your child with you.
  • Praise their positive behaviour often.


These two little tips will help you avoid any tantrums that are caused by hunger, thirstiness or feeling ignored.


Healthy snacks

Not sure what products are the most nutritious and the best value for money? Check out the Foodscanner app available both on the Apple store and Google store.

You can also take a look at the ‘Healthy Eating’ page for some perfect quick and easy wins to help keep your child’s hunger at bay.