Handling Toddler Temper Tantrums
All tantrums are not created equal. Some come from spoiling by parents and other caregivers, while others are produced by a child's internal frustrations and are not learned. Spirited children are prone to the latter. Their tantrums can be triggered by anything from a scratchy shirt to a parent's request. They can last for hours, and their intensity may register someplace on the Richter Scale.
I spend a lot of time talking about ways to soothe spirited kids and help them learn to handle their emotional upheavals, but the best course of action is to prevent them in the first place. Teaching kids to recognize the signs that they are overheating and to take action to self-soothe can save hours of time later trying to help them recover from one of these monster storms.
Deep breathing helps some kids; having a cool place to calm down works for others. Many spirited kids are calmed for some unknown reason by water, especially a hot bath. These same strategies often work to help calm a spirited child after a tantrum has begun, but they are often much more difficult to use at that point. Again, prevention and early intervention is the key.
Once a tantrum has emerged, avoid fighting with the child or giving in to unreasonable demands: This will spoil the child. But unlike with other kids, don't just leave the child to cry it out, either. You need to focus on helping your child self-calm. Keep your child from self hurting or hurting others. Talk calmly with your child and find what works best.