Why do tantrums happen?
Tantrums are your toddler's emotional response to stress and the difficulties of daily life. Unlike adults, toddlers do not have a functioning pre-frontal cortex that allows them to regulate emotions. So, when they experience a strong emotion, they do not have the mental brakes to slow down their response, or the words to cope with it. They may not even know what emotion they are feeling! So, they respond with crying and outbursts. Because.... that is what they are designed to do.
Tantrums could be a result of being hungry, tired, overwhelmed, or overstimulated. They could also be a result of wanting attention, wanting a preferred activity or item, or wanting to remove themselves from a non-preferred activity.
Tantrums can be frustrating, exhausting, and unpredictable. But they can also be beautiful moments for connection, understanding, and teaching/learning. In my clinical practice, I recommend parents use 5 C's when helping their child manage big feelings.
Grab my guide below for instructions on each step! I hope you find it helpful.
For more general tips on how to further teach emotional intelligence and self regulation, check out our guide below for 10 awesome ideas!
meet the blogger
Austen is a pediatric occupational therapist with experience in schools, early intervention, and private clinic settings. She now runs her own private practice in Portland, OR specializing in movement based learning techniques. This blog's mission is to educate and empower parents and children by sharing insights into the complexities of learning and development.