10 ways to deal with a screaming toddler

Posted on January 25th, 2019

As a mom, you’re accustomed to dealing with the phases your little one goes through, but no one warns you about the screaming phase. We asked the experts to help you restore some calm. By Thobeka Phanyeko

10 ways to deal with a screaming toddler

You’re probably exhausted from all your child’s meltdowns and although you’ve considered joining the screaming match, you know it won’t work. Before you reach for the ear plugs, co-founder and director of Step Up Education Centres, Cindy Glass, has a few tips.

ALSO SEE: Why you shouldn’t use shouting as a form of discipline

Establish why your child is having a meltdown

Is she hungry, overtired, afraid, overstimulated or in pain? Does she want something you have said no to? Knowing what triggered the behavior will help you make better choices as to what action is best to take.

ALSO SEE: 3 toddler tantrums decoded

Your child is trying to communicate

Toddlers and preschoolers are learning to live in a world of other humans and complex scenarios.  They have not yet learned how to manage their emotions effectively and emotional hijacking in the form of meltdowns is their way of trying to tell you how they’re feeling. It’s our job as parents to teach our children more effective ways of communicating their emotions and how to learn the skill of self-regulation.

Stay calm – even if you don’t feel it

If you start yelling and screaming at an upset child, you will exasperate the situation and, even worse, y teach your child the way to handle a tough situation is to get angry and act out.

Giving in is a form of reward

If your child is screaming because she wants to do or have something you have said no to, you will need to dig deep and stand firm in your decision. Your little one will learn all she has to do is act out and she will get what she wants. You teach your child how to behave by the choices you make.

ALSO SEE: New ways to say “no” to avoid toddler tantrums

Be consistent

If you give in to one tantrum and not another, you will create a sense of confusion in your child, further exasperating the need for tantrums.

Try distracting your child from the tantrum-trigger

This may help in calming the situation. You can also try to avoid the tantrum trigger altogether.

Actions and choices have consequences

If your child has had a tantrum because she’s not getting her way with you, try removing privileges by way of consequence. For example, “We won’t be going to the park today because you didn’t behave very well when I asked you to pick up your toys.”

Stick to your guns and insist that your child carry through the instructions you had given in the first place.

This will teach your child that tantrums have no value.

ALSO SEE: 8 clever hacks to diffuse your toddler’s tantrum

If your child is safe, you may want to ignore the tantrum

She will realise there are more effective ways to get you to understand what she’s feeling.

Your tot is still learning

You are her guide and her first and longest-lasting teacher. Teach your child how to behave by how you choose to behave. She is more likely to do what you do, rather than what you say.