“Mama, mama!” Yannis shrieks, holding on to my leg. He’s throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, again. What could it be that controls toddlers’ moods? They change so quickly. One minute, they’re happy, fist-bumping a stranger with a big smile on their face, and the next, they’re crying, shaking and screaming.
What is going on? Young children don’t have large vocabularies to explain their feelings. So, that means they must express their emotions other ways. Of course, even if they did have the words to explain how they feel, that also takes a lot of practice to be able to do. Even as adults, we might struggle with talking about our feelings, especially when they are strong feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, or confusion.
So, what can we do when toddlers have serious tantrums? This is how we handle Toddlers Tantrums the Montessori way Acknowledge Him and His Emotions
Montessori believed that empathy was the first step for understanding and working with children. You can show your child empathy by acknowledging their feelings. I might say, “Yannis, you seem very angry,” or, “I’m so sorry this seems so hard for you.”
At the same time, this helps teach your child to name their emotions. This means your child will eventually learn to recognize their emotions and name them, too.
Stay Calm and In Control
While it’s not always easy, you must stay calm and in control. Don’t lose your cool and start yelling back at your kid. This will only make things worse, or teach them that emotions are something bad that they should hide.
Instead, stay calm and tell your child what will happen next. For example, if you need to move them from the middle of the grocery store aisle, you might say “I’m going to pick you up and move you to a safer place.”
Basically, at this point, you need to just let the tantrum run its course. If the tantrum was triggered by you setting a limit, don’t give in! Maintain your boundaries and limits. For example, if your child goes into tantrum mode because you won’t let them eat another cookie, don’t give them the cookie! According to Montessori, children need limits, and they need them in order to fully manage their own freedom. In her own words, she said, “To let the child do as he likes when he has not developed any power of control is to betray the idea of freedom.”
Read Books About Emotions
When your child is calm, make an effort to read books about emotions. You can do this during your normal reading time. This will help your child learn to recognize their strong feelings and develop the language they need to talk about them. Many books also offer strategies such as talking, taking deep breaths, or stomping feet, to deal with anger and other strong emotions.
Next time your Toddler has a tantrum, remember that these are temporary moments. They are also inevitable, almost all children go through them! So, be patient, be empathetic and try to stay calm yourself. Before you know it, the tantrum stage will be over.