8 clever hacks to diffuse your toddler’s tantrum

Toddlers are like a weather phenomenon: they’re volatile and hard to predict, and their effects can be devastating. Here’s how to keep the wreckage to a minimum. By Lisa Witepski

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Mention the word “toddler”, and you’ll see most moms visibly recoil – and with good reason. Their newfound speech skills make them irresistibly adorable, but toddlers seem to say “no” to anything from excursions to supper – on principle, and you never know when a cranky mood is going to escalate into a full-blown tantrum.

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

These hacks may help you keep the peace a little longer

Keep snacks at hand

Often, the cause of a tantrum isn’t the Anna doll that your little princess must have Right. This. Instant. It’s because she’s hungry. A banana might not seem like an obvious answer to doll envy, but you may find she calms down if she’s well fed.

Remember what counts

Try the “adult” test: are you fighting over something that will matter when your daughter is an adult? If it’s dirty hair yet again, rather let her skip the hair wash. If it’s manners and kindness then take a stand.

Water is tantrum kryptonite

It makes tempers dissipate almost instantly. A bath or splash in a pool is ideal, but even getting your little one’s feet wet will do the trick.

Always budget more minutes than you’ll actually need

Since time is usually a key issue, a toddler’s unwillingness to focus and tendency to dawdle is less irritating if you know that it’s not going to make you late.

Schedule a dinnertime play date

If you’re battling to get your child to eat anything other than pasta, it may inspire him to be a little more adventurous if he can see his friend enjoying the meal.

Shop with a list – of your child’s future birthday pressies

Children are less likely to nag if you assure them that they can have what they’ve asked for at a later date, like a birthday or Christmas. It makes shopping much easier – you’ll also know exactly what to get him when the time comes.

Get competitive

Toddlers appear to have an innate hatred of tidying up – unless you bet them that they won’t be able to clear away their toys as fast as you can. This strategy may work in other situations, too. For example, you could make it a race to see who can get into bed fastest.

Use reverse psychology

Given toddlers’ inclination towards stubbornness, telling your tot that he probably won’t be able to do something – like go to the toilet or lay the table – may be just the incentive he needs to get going.

ALSO SEE: 5 tips to cope with tantrums

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