Toddlers are in a class of their own, and while there is no way to guarantee they will cooperate, you can prevent a minor situation from turning into a full-blown meltdown. Transitioning from infancy to childhood is difficult. Here are ways you can start preparing for toddler tantrums.
While life happens, keeping your toddler on a consistent schedule is a great way to curb tantrums. Start your toddler with a consistent bedtime, waking time, and food schedule. Continue this on the weekends. If you are able, placing toddlers into a part-time preschool program is a great way to solidify consistent, predictable behaviors and schedules.
Introducing different cuisines to your toddler lessens their pickiness later in life, but do not force a particular food on them. Have options nearby so they can learn to enjoy different types of food. Feeding children every two hours helps their health and prevent meltdowns. Take water and crackers with you for unexpected gross spurt episodes.
Sunlight and Playtime
Expose your kids to the outdoors anytime the weather permits. Playtime is vital to a child’s health, and exposing toddlers to playtime with you or other children allows them to learn how the world works. Children need vitamin D. Avoid intense heat or cold because this can exacerbate your child and affect their well-being. Pack sunscreen, emollient balms, and other products to aid skin care and prevent skin irritation. Toddlers can only handle up to 30 minutes of intense heat (85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) and 15 minutes of frigid temperatures (32 to -15 degrees Fahrenheit). Avoid the outdoors if the temperature goes above 90 degrees or below -15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Toddlers need consistent behavior among adults. They need boundaries. That is why daycares can assist their social/psychological well-being, especially if parents struggle with consistency upfront. Parents need to develop practical expectations with toddlers upfront to prevent meltdowns. You need a plan for traveling, church, and overwhelming situations. If you are out with friends at dinner, be prepared for interruptions; you may need to walk around with your toddler for a couple of minutes to prevent a meltdown. You don’t want the child to call the shots, but you want to set reasonable limits for them.
If you are going places with your toddler or have someone babysit them, you need to know what to expect. Planning trips, outings, and events will help you deal with your toddler’s needs. If you are incorporating a babysitter, keep them briefed on your toddler’s schedule. Here are some tips for unforeseen circumstances:
- If you plan to go out to run errands, take toys, distractions, snacks, hygiene, and a choice of clothing. Try leaving the house right after mealtime, naptime, and potty time. If you know your toddler likes to nap morning, consider going out after lunch.
- Don’t spend large amounts of time away out in public without a break at home for your toddler.
- Plan to walk around with your toddler or take them to the park between stops outside the home.
- Plan to stop during all-day road trips for outside time and meals. Consider a portable potty for potty stops if possible.
- Introduce your child to a new caretaker or daycare in short periods, and allow them time to adjust to the new environment before leaving them for the day.
These plans show how you can help your child adjust to new circumstances. You and your other parent can figure out how to help your toddler admit meltdowns.
Regardless of how well you attempt to plan your toddler’s schedule, tantrums still happen. There is no need to soothe every tantrum unless they start to hurt themselves or become destructive. Let them express themselves freely without losing their cool. Sometimes you will need to adjust to their needs. Leaving a stressful situation for your upset toddler may alleviate the pressure of perfect parenting and embarrassment. Abruptly changing the situation allows your toddler to reset their behavior and cool off. It also prevents you from having a meltdown. If your child regularly has tantrums speak with their pediatrician, and remember they are only this little once so enjoy this time in their life!