Most parenting gurus say the best way to deal with a tantrum is to use four techniques ¾ talking it through, distracting your tot, ignoring their behaviour and using time out ¾ in that order, depending on how much your toddler’s temper escalates.
Follow our flowchart, see which stage your tot is at, and react accordingly.
You’re doing your supermarket run and your toddler starts to whine that they want sweets.
2 TALK IT THROUGH
Explain calmly and firmly that they can’t have any because it’s nearly lunchtime, but that if they wait till after dinner, they can have a biscuit.
3a They happily say, “Okay!” You give them a big hug and tell them what a good boy/girl they are. (Yay!)
3b They continue to demand sweets, getting louder and louder.
Ask them to go and fetch some apples/pick a cereal to help mummy.
5a They toddle off to find the apples/cereal. (Phew!)
5b They refuse and start to stamp their feet and shout louder.
Ignore the fuss and carry on shopping.
7a Your child realises they’re not getting any attention, gets bored and calms down.
7b They throw themselves on the floor and start to kick and scream.
8 Pick them up, strap them firmly into the trolley (well away from the shelves, bring your own strap) or place them in an empty trolley and tell them they’re in time out for the next two minutes. Continue to ignore them for the two minutes.
9 Your tot starts to calm down.
Give them a big hug, tell them what a good boy/girl they are, and ask if they’ll help find mummy’s favourite colour of shampoo, to take their mind off what’s just happened.