This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Ruth Wong.  She asked our World Moms,

“What are some of the best ways you have discovered in dealing with toddler tantrums?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Polish Mom Photographer of California, USA writes:
“Ignoring them!  It works like a charm.”

The Alchemist of India writes:
“I try to explain facts/things as they are. Mostly, the tantrums go away with his understanding. But on the rare occasions they don’t go away, I just ignore them and they go away soon after.”

Alison Lee of Malaysia writes:
“Ignore them. Soon enough, they’ll realize they’re not getting the reaction they want, and they’ll stop expanding energy on that pointless activity. If however, it’s in public, I would remove said toddler from the situation/ place and just head home!”

Karyn Van Der Zwet of New Zealand writes:
“Ha! Writing a whole book about tantrums as we speak. Due out later this year. :)”

Mamma Simona of South Africa writes:
“I agree with all the moms who advocate ignoring the tantrum (as long as the child is not in imminent danger of hurting himself or others). My son only threw 1 tantrum in his life … the classic “throw yourself on the ground of a shop stamping, flailing and crying. Hubby and I took one look at each other and (without saying a word) just kept walking! (Obviously we were surreptitiously keeping an eye on him) By the time we got to the end of the aisle he got up and ran to us. Nothing was said … and it never happened again! I know I’m lucky… with some kids it’s just not that easy! 🙂 Good luck!!”

Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA writes:
“I have also read to ignore the tantrum! I did that with my first and she stopped having them. I’m hoping it works with my younger daughter, too!”

Tara B. of Washington State, USA writes:
“I saw the biggest toddler tantrums around transitions (moving to a meal, leaving a park), so I try to distract them with the new activity to avoid the tantrum altogether: “Did you see the hearts on your plate over there?” (sandwich cut into hearts), or “Let’s go listen to Nemo in the car and have pretzels!” (story on CD and new snack in the car). Plus keeping them well fed/hydrated is also key. Once the tantrum comes, though, I let them ride it out.”

mamawearpapashirt of Singapore writes:
“This might seem a bit odd, or counter-intuitive (especially if you’re fuming at that point), but I’ve read that showing empathy and trying to understand where their anger is coming from helps, as with helping them label that emotion, for instance “mummy can see that you’re feeling very angry right now…” I’ve tried it a couple of times, and find that it actually helps! But I guess the challenge for us is being able to stay calm and focus on the child’s needs, instead of our own anger or frustration.”

Dee Harlow of Virginia, USA writes:
“I calmly ask my toddler to look me in the eyes, repeatedly, until they do. Then I ask what’s wrong or what they want and tell them I can’t understand if they cry, whine, scream. And tell them if I can’t understand, I can’t help, so please try to use their words. June is right about empathy and label the emotion. When I can label, like anger, I tell them it’s ok to be angry but let’s do something about it. Also helps to do little things that make them know they are being cared for, like getting tissue to wipe nose or a sip of milk. Or just to sit, hug, soothe, and it’s usually over in minutes.”

RoxIsBrilliant of Nevada, USA writes:
“I used to put him in his room and let him just scream and yell all he wanted. Now I sit and wrap him in my arms. It helps calm us both down (I have less patience than he does!).”

Kirsten Doyle of Ontario, Canada writes:
“As Mom to a child with autism, I do not have the choice of ignoring tantrums. My older son doesn’t really have tantrums, but he does have autism-related meltdowns, and all I can do at those times is physically restrain him from hurting himself and just ride it out. When my younger (non-autistic) son has a tantrum, I calmly ask him what the matter is, and I listen to him and try to help him through whatever is bugging him. He has to stay on the sidelines many times so I can focus on taking care of his brother, so it is very important to me to give him a voice when he needs it.”

Eva Fannon of Washington State, USA writes:
“I completely agree with mamawearpapashirt and Dee Harlow.  My two year old is learning how to talk and express the feelings she is feeling.  If I ignore her or walk away when she has a tantrum, it escalates.  I have found that kneeling down to her level, looking her in the eye, asking her what she is feeling (sad, mad, frustrated, etc.), acknowledging her feelings, and giving her a hug, help make it all better pretty quickly.

If my five year old has a meltdown, which is not often,  I’ve learned it’s usually from being tired or over-stimulated.  I ask her what is wrong, acknowledge what she is feeling, tell her to take some deep breaths, give her a hug, and then if she is still feeling frustrated, tell her to take a moment for herself in her room.  After a few minutes, when I go back to check in on her, she’s usually fast asleep!”

What about you…how do you handle, or try to prevent tantrums?  

And do you have a question you would like to pose to our WMB writers?  If so, email us at to see what they have to say.

Don’t forget to visit us tomorrow to check out the travel itinerary for next week!

– World Moms Blog

Photo credit to Rafael Edwards  This photo has a creative commons attribute license.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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