All babies throw tantrums at some point or the other during their initial growing years. Tantrums are just as common in boys as they are in girls and they usually occur between the ages of 1 to 3. Depending upon their temperament, some babies experience regular tantrums, whereas others have them occasionally. Unlike adults, babies do not have an understanding and control over their emotions.
Babies Become Difficult During Tantrums.
Most babies are usually cheerful during the day, but may unexpectedly throw tantrums upon some trigger. They may lose emotional control, scream or cry, throw things here and there, bang their heads on a wall or floor or hit themselves and others. Some babies may also goto the extent of holding their breaths. Such temper tantrums of your baby may take you to your wit’s end and you may be tempted to set her right. But this may worsen and prolong your baby’s tantrums.
Identifying Tantrum Triggers.
You need to recognize triggers that induce your baby to throw a tantrum. Many a times babies throw tantrums out of hunger or need to sleep. Try to look out if this is the case and attend to them as required. Babies also tend to throw tantrums when they are ill.
Understanding Your Baby’s Tantrums.
Tantrums are a normal part of a baby’s development and should not be seen as something negative. Tantrums can be of two types- manipulative tantrums and frustration tantrums.
Frustration Tantrums Arise Because of Inability to Express.
Sometimes a baby’s mental and motor skills have progressed more quickly than her ability to communicate. So your baby may not be able to express what she wants to do or get done and this inability to make you understand her needs leads to frustration. And because she doesn't yet have the verbal skills to express her frustration, she does so by throwing tantrums.
Manipulative Tantrums arise out of desires.
Toddlers use manipulative tantrums to get things done their way, which otherwise is unlikely to happen, like throwing tantrums to force you to buy a toy or a candy.
Dealing With Manipulative Tantrums of Your Baby.
If you feel that your baby is using tantrums as a tool to get her own way, give her verbal cues and use a body language that discourages her to behave like that. You can send a clear message that tantrums are not acceptable by ignoring them or walking away. Your voice should be calm and loving but firm. You need to tell the baby that you are there for her, but her tantrums are unacceptable.
Handling Tantrums at Public Places.
Infants tend to get uncomfortable with new surroundings. If your baby often throws tantrums at public places like shopping malls and gives you a hard time, then it is quite possible that she may not like to be out in an unfamiliar place and around unfamiliar people.
Let Your Baby Feel Your Presence.
Be with your baby all the time. Do not ignore her. Give her a hug or pick her up gently and take a stroll. This calms her down and then you may carry on with your work.
Be Prepared to Feed Your Baby.
Always carry your baby’s food and water along so that you can feed her if she feels hungry or thirsty at a public places.
Take Your Baby Away from the Crowd.
If your baby is not settling down you may take her to a quiet place like a restroom or to your car and let her calm down. Once she is better, talk to her and reassure her in a pacifying tone that you are around and she doesn’t need to be afraid of anything.
Carry Her Favorite Toys Along.
You may carry her favorite possessions like water bottle, sipper or her favoritetoy to create companionship. If you find it difficult to manage so many things along with an uncomfortable baby, carry her pram. This way, you can put your baby at rest and tuck her belongings in the pram as well. This also makes it comfortable for you to carry things.
Preventing Your Baby from Throwing Tantrums.
Tantrums can be prevented to a large extent by being pro-active. Have a smart plan ready for your baby and yourself. Here are some tips that you can follow to prevent tantrums:
- If you are going out or expecting visitors, talk to your baby in advance about where she is going or whom she is going to meet
- Have a dialogue with your baby and explain her how you expect her to behave while interacting with people
- Babies don’t like surprises, so as far as possible keep a fixed schedule that your baby is aware of
- Attend to your baby’shunger and sleep cues
- Your baby may behave irrationally if she is unwell, so be tolerant and patient towards her
- Inform your baby before any change of activity in which she is involved. Like if your baby has been swinging in the park for a while and you want to take her back home, tell her a few minutes before you actually pick her up from the swing
- Remain as calm aspossible if your baby is already having an emotional surge.
- Always talk to your baby in a loving, reassuring voice and refrain from lashing out at her.
- Mingle with your baby and read out to her as much as possible as this enhances her communication skills
A Cry forAttention is Not a Tantrum.
Some babies cry just out of a need for attention. This is not a tantrum but just an indication that your baby needs you at that moment. Your love and attention is all that is required to calm her down in such a situation.
No matter what kind of tantrum your baby throws and at what place, you need to deal with it with a lot of patience and affection. Interact with your baby as much as you can and encourage her to communicate with you more and more when she is throwing a tantrum. This reduces her irritation and also helps you handle the situation better.