How I Stop a Toddler Tantrum in it’s Tracks!

This is one of those times that working with preschool aged children who have special needs has come in especially handy when it comes to raising my daughter.  Not that she has special needs, but now that she is going on preschool age (wah!) she has her own ideas, opinions and plans.  When I ask her to do something that she feels is not important or doesn’t fit into her plan, we sometimes have an issue. Luckily, for me 5 years of working with stubborn little kiddos all day long has allowed me to have a few tricks up my sleeve for when emotions are running high at home.


Here are my 5 steps to stopping my toddler’s tantrums (in a nutshell). It doesn’t work every time, but I’d say 9/10 times it does the trick.

  1. Validate what she is doing.  Making her feel like her activities are important helps her understand that my activities are important too.
  2. Warn her that there is a transition coming. I usually give a “2” minute warning.  We love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. There is a song with lyrics ‘It’s almost time to stop, so pick one more thing to do…. that was fun but now it’s done!”.  We use this song quite a bit during transitions. She understands what it means and she likes that she can choose another quick game or book before leaving.
  3. Remind myself that she isn’t going to guess my expectations. If I walk in and blindside her with a simple “Ok let’s go”, I can’t blame her for being upset or throwing a tantrum. She has no idea what’s going on or what I am expecting from her. Most adults request an explanation when they are asked to do something. We don’t just blindly follow directions that we don’t understand. Why should we expect a child to?
  4. Allow her time to process and ask questions. If she has questions about what is happening or where we are going I want her to ask them.  I want her to understand what is going on around her.
  5. Give closed choices if she is still hesitant or resistant. When all of the above fails and she still doesn’t want to stop what she is doing or listen to what I want her to do I give her closed choices. Both options are things I want her to do so its a win-win and she feels like she is making her own decisions.

These 5 things may take 1 minute or 10 minutes, but they can truly make the difference when it comes to my toddlers compliance.

Do you have any other ways to help prevent toddler tantrums?

Bex copy

3 thoughts on “How I Stop a Toddler Tantrum in it’s Tracks!

  1. I love your list!! All are great ideas. We got with a 3 minute warning… no good reason, my son just prefers having 3 minutes instead of 2.

    One thing that I make sure to do to prevent tantrums is letting him finish what he is doing. Even if I simply want him to come give me a kiss before I leave the house, I allow him to finish what he is doing. I feel like this is important because as adults, we don’t just stop in the middle of something (usually) to see what someone wants from us, we are given the option to finish what we are doing. I think this is important for toddlers, too, because even if they are just playing, it’s important to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks!!
      Yes, that is exactly my reason! Even though they’re kids, they have a lot of the same feelings and thought processes that adults do. Such an important thing to keep in mind for little ones. It’s sad when parents/teachers say that kids are acting up or being naughty when in reality they would react the same way under the same circumstances.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes!! We are teaching them to respect others so we need to respect them, as well. I think many times adults say kids are acting up when they just won’t comply with every little thing but to me those kind of things are fine. I love that my kids say no sometimes, they are allowed to not WANT to do something. That’s fine with me!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s