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Pro Tips for Dealing with Toddler Tantrums


This weekend we had our first raisin shoved into the nose incident. Of course, it was while we were driving, and I was using the raisins as a bribe to keep Charlie happy until we got to our destination. She made a funny sound, and when I looked back she had her finger in her nose trying to get it out, but that only matters worst. I couldn’t get it out (I could barely even see it) because it was so far up there.

Luckily, as I sat there in despair, she let out a giant sneeze and the whole thing came out. With a doctor’s office visit avoided, I mentally made a note not to give her any more raisins in the car. But I know it will happen again.


Because she is a toddler. Did I mention all this was after I told her not to put things in her nose, not 30 minutes before?

Toddler girl smiles at camera while wearing mini tiara.
Photos by Mary Ware

Like most toddlers, Charlie is fiercely independent. And I love that about her. She wants to do things on her own, in her own way. Whether that means walking the house with a basket on her head, or insisting on putting any found clothing on by herself (no matter what she is already wearing), she definitely marches to the beat of her own little drum.

She is strong-willed, curious, and so enthusiastic about everything around her. She loves exploring outdoors, finding out of the box ways to use household items, and take risks, EVERYWHERE.

Sometimes it is just freaking adorable. Much of the time, it’s incredibly exhausting.

Take this weekend for example. My cousin came down and we had a fun time exploring the Cape. We made our way to Provincetown (a highlight of Cape Cod), and as we are walking down the heavily congested main avenue, Charlie began to show her independent streak.

She refused to sit in the stroller, refused to hold hands. Refused, really, anything other than running into oncoming traffic. The same thing happened later at the outlet mall. I appreciate her wanting freedom, but man is it exhausting!

Toddler girl pushes red stroller.
Toddler girl pushes stroller down sidewalk.

Other signs of Toddler Tantrumville:

  • Throwing books, bags, dolls and anything within reach when she becomes frustrated
  • Hitting
  • Intentionally doing exactly what we asked her not to do (typically around the dogs being playful the wrong way with the dogs, or climbing onto things)
  • Throwing herself down in despair in Gone with the Wind style
Learning to Deal with Toddler Tantrums

It is a lot to deal with—figuring out parenting and dealing with the huge emotions of a toddler. It is so easy to feel defeated, exhausted, and feeling like no only your toddler, but sometimes the world is against you!

That’s why I love learning from other parents and experts to find out what works for them when it comes to parenting. While everyone is different, there are many things that we can share from our own experiences and learn from the successes of others. I also love finding parenting resources for my own use and to share on here with you.

I’ve been working my way through the Boys Town email series on Toddler Tantrums, and I am loving the insight and the tips and tricks they send out to try. Things like:

  • How excessive talking just doesn’t work for toddlers – especially the idea of something being similar;
  • How using discipline is laying the groundwork for self-control;
  • Levels of behavior, and how curiosity or actions can seem to be misbehavior, but really they are a child’s way of exploring their environment, or showing affection to things;
  • Detailed steps for doing time-outs effectively (even breaking them down to the basics for first-timers!)
Helpful Tips for Dealing with Toddler Tantrums from Boys Town

Boys Town is an amazing organization that helps at-risk children, families, and communities thrive. As a teacher to at-risk students, I have been familiar with their work for years, and have even completed professional development with their trainings. So when I found out they had an email series on many different topics related to parenting, I had to check it out.

I love how they break down behaviors and give tangible, actionable steps to help not only deal with tantrums (and other issues) but how to work through them and foster a stronger relationship with children in the meantime.

Each email not only provides insight into the brain of a child but also gives teaching activities, and social skill building ideas, including what to say and do to teach the skill (which is so helpful because it can be hard to know how to teach a social skill like accepting the word no, or how to listen).

I put some of their tips into practice this weekend and immediately saw a change in my reaction to her behavior too once I understood where she was coming from. I was sorting baby clothes for a consignment sale and she kept pulling items out and stopping my work flow, and started tantruming when I tried to put the clothes back. I was quick to assume she was being naughty due to me not playing with her, but after I stopped reacting and started observing what the issue was, I saw that she really just wanted to dress her baby. I love that this series talks both about the behavior, and how to discipline effectively too though—because we all know that is needed as well as understanding the problem (because sometimes they really do just want to throw things or act out for seemingly no reason haha).

They also have great series on potty training, bullying and other topics for older children as well. Definitely check the options out and sign up for one or morethey are FREE!

While I know the tantrums will continue (she is just turning 2 after all) I am glad to have another tool in my toolbox for understanding her behavior and learning how to handle the tantrums, and how to work on positive behavior together.

How do you address toddler tantrums in your house? I’d love to know!

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