Does this look familiar?

How to Stop Toddler Hysterics

by Melissa Willets

Someone call an exorcist! Your sweet, happy little baby has morphed into a stubborn, screaming, red-faced toddler who absolutely refuses to budge from her chosen spot in the middle of the parking lot. Unfortunately, temper tantrums come with the territory when you have a toddler, and eradicating these hysterics completely is about as likely as all your kids sleeping past 8:00 a.m. Still, you can take steps to secure the area of your toddler's next crime scene.

1 Take a deep breath and try to remain calm. Yes, toddler hysterics have been known to cause the following symptoms in parents: quickened pulse, irregular breathing, uncontrollable sweating and feelings of humiliation. But toddlers can smell fear! Model the behavior you want to see mirrored back from your little demon, er, darling.

2 Make sure your child is safe. A temper tantrum can happen anywhere from a crowded doctor's office waiting room to a busy parking lot. Move your little maniac out of potential harm's way if necessary, no matter how much he fights you.

3 Determine why your toddler is freaking out. Is your little's one's tantrum a reaction to something that happened or an attempt to get your attention? Understanding the source of the insanity will help you deal with the behavior. If your toddler is having a tantrum out of frustration, see if you can help her with the task that's frustrating her.

4 Get down on your child's level and get her attention. Try reassuring her by saying, "It's okay, " or shushing. Then present your case. For example, if your out-of-control cutie is upset that you want her to put her shoes on, a gentle explanation of why she can't go to the grocery store barefoot goes a long way.

5 Distract your toddler with a toy or other object or move to another location if a simple explanation isn't cutting it. Start singing or talk about something she likes. "We're going to the circus this weekend, remember?" If you're in a store, try pulling something bright and colorful off the shelf. "How cool is this tea kettle?"

6 Leave the scene of the crime if necessary. Abandoning your shopping may be painful, but you can't very well allow your kid to writhe around on the floor of the grocery store for too long.

7 Try to keep in mind that you aren't alone in dealing with these types of outbursts. Kids who can't express themselves verbally often cry and carry on like it's the end of the world. While it may feel that way to you, too, most toddlers act this way until they can express themselves better. Then they don't stop talking!

Tip

  • Keep your diaper bag stocked with snacks and toys so that you can fend off hysterics when you go out. Anticipating when your child may have the munchies or need a little extra help staying occupied will keep you from being caught off guard by a mini-breakdown!

About the Author

Melissa Willets has been writing about parenting, pregnancy and "all things mom" since 2009. She has contributed to many websites, including Pampers.com and WhatToExpect.com.

Photo Credits

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