How To Handle Toddler Temper Tantrums

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Many parents dread the “terrible two’s”.  There’s a reason for that!

Around two years old, most children are intent upon exploring their world.  This means that they need constant supervision because they get into everything!  With their sense of curiosity on overdrive, they can easily get into dangerous situations very quickly.  They are also getting a sense of “self” and exploring their independence. 

Toddlers are very prone to temper tantrums.  They want to explore and be independent, but there is a lot they still can’t do.  For example, my son wants to push the grocery cart now when we go to the store.  I usually let him “pretend” that he’s doing it while I help to guide.  In the beginning, this was enough for him.  Now, he wants to do it all by himself AND he wants to be able to reach the same handle that I use to push the cart.  This morning, he had a temper tantrum because he did not want me to help him.  OH WELL. 

If your toddler is experiencing some tempter tantrums, here are some tips that might help you.

Redirection Helps

Toddlers have a short attention span which can work to your benefit in helping to diffuse temper tantrums.  This morning, when my son became angry about the cart, I re-directed his attention to the apple display.  He loves apples!  I held up a green apple and a red apple and asked him which kind of apple he wanted.  The temper tantrum was over.

Keep Calm

Children really do pick up behavioral cues from their parents.  If you become upset or get stressed when your child begins to get upset, it may actually make the temper tantrum worse than it would have been.  Stay calm, and talk to your child in a calm, yet firm voice. 

Above all, don’t take the tantrum personally.  All children go through this stage.  The fact that your toddler is having a temper tantrum doesn’t mean that you are a poor parent. 

Know the Triggers

Certain things can trigger toddler temper tantrums.  By observing your child, you can figure out his or her triggers and then work to avoid some of them.  For example, my son tends to get really crabby right before his nap time.  Things that would normally not bother him really upset him during this time.  Because of this, I avoid taking him out around nap time.

Remember, “the terrible two’s” is just a developmental stage and will one day pass.  Then, you’ll be able to deal with the next stage!


Our little toddler drives us crazy sometimes. We are at our wits end. It’s even worse when we are in public. You’ve got some good suggestions we’ll be putting into use! Thanks.

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