Should I Ignore Toddler Tantrums? Helpful Parenting Tips

should i ignore toddler tantrums

As a parent, dealing with toddler tantrums can be challenging and stressful. You may find yourself wondering if you should simply ignore them and hope they will go away on their own. However, ignoring tantrums may not be the most effective approach. In this article, we will explore the question of whether or not you should ignore toddler tantrums and provide helpful tips for managing and handling them.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ignoring tantrums may not be the most effective approach to managing them.
  • Understanding the underlying reasons for tantrums is an important step in managing them.
  • Establishing clear boundaries and maintaining consistency can help prevent and manage tantrums.
  • Providing diversion and distraction techniques can defuse tantrums.
  • Seeking professional help may be necessary if tantrums persist or significantly impact daily life.

Understanding Toddler Tantrums

If you are struggling with managing your toddler’s tantrums, the first step is to try and understand why they are happening. Tantrums are a common part of toddlerhood and can be triggered by a variety of factors.

One common trigger is frustration. Toddlers are still developing their communication skills and have limited ways to express themselves, which can lead to feelings of frustration and anger. When they are unable to communicate their needs or wants effectively, they may resort to a tantrum.

In some cases, tantrums can be a result of your child feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated. This can happen when they are in a new or unfamiliar environment, or when they are exposed to loud noises or bright lights.

It’s also important to note that tantrums can sometimes be a sign of an underlying issue, such as a sensory processing disorder or anxiety. If you are concerned about your child’s tantrum behavior, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional.

Understanding Toddler Tantrums Triggers

By understanding your child’s triggers, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood of a tantrum occurring. Some common triggers include:

  • Hunger or thirst
  • Fatigue or overstimulation
  • Changes in routine or environment
  • Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated
  • Desire for independence or control

It’s important to observe your child and try to identify their personal triggers so you can anticipate and prevent tantrums from occurring. With a little patience and understanding, you can effectively manage your toddler’s tantrum behavior.

Strategies for Handling Toddler Tantrums

Dealing with toddler tantrums can be challenging, but employing effective strategies can help make these situations more manageable. Here are some tips for managing tantrums:

  • Stay calm: It’s important to remain calm during a tantrum, as getting upset or angry can escalate the situation. Take deep breaths and try to remain composed.
  • Validate emotions: Let your toddler know that you understand they are upset, and that it is okay to feel that way. Use phrases like “I see you’re feeling frustrated” to acknowledge their emotions.
  • Offer choices: Toddlers often feel a lack of control, so offering choices can help them feel empowered. For example, you can ask if they want to wear the red or blue shirt, or if they want to play with blocks or dolls.
  • Set boundaries: While offering choices is important, it’s also crucial to set clear boundaries and establish what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. Make sure your toddler understands what behaviors are not allowed, and follow through with consequences if necessary.
  • Redirect attention: Distracting your toddler’s attention with a different activity can help diffuse a tantrum. You can suggest playing with a different toy or going outside to play.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Praising good behavior can encourage positive behavior in the future. Let your toddler know when they have done something well, and offer praise and encouragement.
  • Stay consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to managing tantrums. Make sure all caregivers are on the same page and using the same strategies, and be consistent with consequences and rewards.

By employing these strategies, you can effectively manage tantrum situations and foster positive behavior in your toddler.

Consequences of Ignoring Toddler Tantrums

Ignoring toddler tantrums may seem like a easy way to avoid a challenging situation, but the consequences can be significant. In the short-term, ignoring tantrums can cause them to escalate, leading to aggressive behavior and prolonged outbursts. Additionally, dismissing tantrums may cause your toddler to feel unheard, leading to a breakdown in communication and trust.

Over the long-term, ignoring toddler tantrums can lead to negative behavior patterns and emotional difficulties. If tantrums are a recurring issue, it may be an indication of deeper emotional concerns that require attention. Ignoring these concerns can lead to increased stress and frustration for both you and your child.

It is important to address tantrums in a constructive and positive manner, focusing on the underlying causes and providing your toddler with the necessary tools to express their emotions in a healthy way. By doing so, you are helping to foster positive development and emotional well-being for your child.

“Ignoring tantrums may cause your toddler to feel unheard, leading to a breakdown in communication and trust.”

Establishing Boundaries and Consistency

When it comes to managing toddler tantrums, setting clear boundaries and maintaining consistency is key. Establishing rules and enforcing them in a firm but fair manner can help your toddler understand what is expected of them and prevent tantrums from escalating.

Start by setting simple and realistic boundaries that are appropriate for your toddler’s age and developmental stage. Be clear and consistent in your expectations and use positive feedback and praise to reinforce good behavior. At the same time, avoid using physical punishment or shaming, which can be harmful to your toddler’s emotional wellbeing.

It’s important to involve your toddler in the process of setting boundaries and rules. Offering choices and allowing them to feel empowered can help prevent power struggles and reduce the likelihood of tantrums. For example, ask your toddler which shirt they would like to wear or offer them a choice between two healthy snacks.

In addition to setting boundaries, it’s crucial to maintain consistency in your approach to managing tantrums. This means responding to tantrums in the same way each time they occur and ensuring that all caregivers involved in your toddler’s care are on the same page. Consistency helps your toddler understand what to expect and can reduce confusion and frustration.

Overall, establishing boundaries and maintaining consistency is an effective strategy for managing toddler tantrums. By setting clear expectations and responding in a consistent manner, you can help your toddler feel secure and prevent tantrums from escalating.

Providing Diversion and Distraction

When dealing with a toddler in the midst of a tantrum, offering a diversion or alternative activity can help redirect their attention and diffuse the situation. Here are some effective ways to handle toddler tantrums:

  1. Change the scenery: Move your toddler to a different room or area of the house to break the cycle of the tantrum and provide a fresh environment.
  2. Offer a toy or activity: Providing a toy or activity that your toddler enjoys can help shift their focus away from the tantrum and onto something positive.
  3. Use humor: Sometimes making a silly face or telling a joke can distract your toddler and lighten the mood.
  4. Sing a song or play music: Music can be calming and provide a soothing distraction during a tantrum.
  5. Read a book: Reading a favorite book can help your toddler relax and refocus their attention.
  6. Engage in physical activity: Encouraging your toddler to jump, dance, or run around can help release pent-up energy and reduce frustration.

Keep in mind that not all distraction techniques will work for every child, so it may take some trial and error to find what works best for your toddler.

Empathy and Active Listening

One of the most important aspects of managing toddler tantrums is understanding your child’s emotions and needs. Being empathetic towards your child during a tantrum can help them feel heard and validated, reducing the intensity and frequency of future outbursts.

Active listening is a valuable tool for practicing empathy. When your child is upset, try to actively listen to what they are saying and respond in a calm and compassionate manner. Repeating what your child is saying can help them feel heard and understood, and may diffuse the tantrum.

For example, if your child is upset because they can’t have a certain toy, respond by saying “I understand you really want that toy and it’s hard when we can’t have everything we want.” This shows your child that you are acknowledging their feelings and helps them feel heard.

By practicing empathy and active listening, you can help your child feel understood and teach them how to communicate their needs effectively, ultimately reducing the frequency and severity of tantrums.

Positive Reinforcement and Rewards

Positive reinforcement and rewards can be effective techniques for managing toddler tantrums. By emphasizing positive behavior, you can encourage your child to continue good habits and discourage negative ones.

When using positive reinforcement, be sure to provide immediate praise for good behavior. This can be as simple as saying “Great job!” or “Thank you for listening.” Rewards can also be effective, but it’s important to choose them wisely and avoid using them as bribes. Instead, make rewards a natural consequence of positive behavior. For example, if your child has a good day at preschool, you might offer to take them to the park after school.

Remember, rewards don’t always have to be material items. Spending quality time with your child, reading a book together or playing a game can be just as rewarding as getting a new toy.

It’s also important to avoid using punishment as a means of correcting behavior. Studies have shown that punishment is often ineffective in the long-term and can lead to negative outcomes, such as increased aggression and decreased self-esteem.

By incorporating positive reinforcement and rewards into your parenting approach, you can create a positive and supportive environment for your toddler and help them learn valuable life skills.

Reducing Triggers and Anticipating Needs

One effective way to handle toddler tantrums is to identify triggers and anticipate your toddler’s needs before they escalate. Start by observing your child’s behavior and noting what triggers their tantrums. Common triggers include hunger, fatigue, overstimulation, and changes in routine. Once you’ve identified the triggers, take steps to minimize their impact.

For example, if hunger is a trigger, make sure your toddler has regular meals and snacks throughout the day. If changes in routine cause tantrums, prepare your child in advance by talking about the upcoming changes and reassuring them that everything will be okay.

Anticipating your toddler’s needs can also prevent tantrums. For example, if you know your child gets fussy when they’re tired, make sure they get enough rest throughout the day. If your child is prone to meltdowns when shopping, bring along snacks or toys to keep them occupied.

By reducing triggers and anticipating your toddler’s needs, you can minimize the likelihood of tantrums and create a more peaceful environment for your child.

Time-outs and Calm-down Techniques

When your toddler is in the midst of a tantrum, it can be challenging to know what to do to resolve the situation. Time-outs and calm-down techniques can be effective tools for managing these outbursts.


Time-outs involve removing your toddler from the situation and placing them in a designated area, such as a chair or corner, where they can calm down. The duration of the time-out should be brief, typically one minute for each year of your child’s age. It is important to explain to your child why they are in time-out and what behavior led to the consequences.

It is crucial to remain consistent with the implementation of time-outs. If you use time-outs occasionally, your toddler may not understand the connection between their behavior and the consequences. You may also want to consider using a timer to help your child understand when the time-out will be over.

Calm-down Techniques

Calm-down techniques are activities that can help your toddler regulate their emotions and calm down. These techniques may include deep breathing exercises, offering a stuffed animal or blanket to hug, or suggesting a quiet activity like reading a book. It is important to offer options that work for your child and encourage them to use these techniques when they feel overwhelmed.

Remember to remain calm and patient when using time-outs and calm-down techniques. These techniques are meant to help your child learn to regulate their emotions and behavior, not to punish them for their outburst.

If your toddler’s tantrums persist or significantly impact their daily life, seeking professional help may be necessary. There are many resources available to provide guidance and support in managing toddler tantrums.

Seeking Professional Help

While most toddler tantrums can be managed with effective parenting strategies, there may be instances where seeking professional help is necessary. If your toddler’s tantrums persist or significantly impact their daily life, it may be time to consult with a pediatrician, child psychologist, or other healthcare professional.

These professionals can help identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to your toddler’s behavior and provide guidance on how to address them. They may also recommend specialized therapies or interventions that can support your toddler’s emotional and behavioral development.

When considering professional help, it is important to do your research and choose a qualified and experienced provider. Ask for recommendations from trusted sources, such as your pediatrician or other parents, and carefully review credentials and experience.

Remember, seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness or failure as a parent. It is a proactive step towards ensuring the best possible outcomes for your toddler’s emotional and behavioral well-being.

When to Consider Professional Help:

  • If your toddler’s tantrums are frequent and intense
  • If your toddler’s tantrums last longer than normal or are difficult to console
  • If your toddler displays aggressive behavior during tantrums, such as hitting or biting
  • If your toddler’s tantrums are accompanied by other concerning symptoms, such as sleep disturbances or appetite changes

Remember, you know your toddler best. If you are concerned about their behavior or emotional well-being, seeking professional help may be the best course of action to ensure they receive the support and care they need.

Consistency among Caregivers

When it comes to managing toddler tantrums, consistency in your approach is key. This means that all caregivers involved in your toddler’s care need to be on the same page. This includes parents, grandparents, babysitters, and any other individuals responsible for your toddler’s well-being.

Make sure everyone is aware of the strategies you are using to manage tantrums and understands how to implement them. This will help ensure that your toddler receives a consistent approach regardless of who they are with.

It’s also important to establish clear communication between caregivers. Share information about your child’s behavior, sleep schedule, and any other important details that can affect their mood and behavior. This will enable everyone to anticipate your toddler’s needs and avoid triggering tantrums.

Keep in mind that even small differences in caregiving styles can confuse and upset your toddler, leading to more tantrums. Consistency among caregivers can help minimize these disruptions and create a predictable and stable environment for your child.

Overall, maintaining consistency among caregivers is a critical component of managing toddler tantrums successfully. By working together and communicating effectively, you can create a supportive and nurturing environment that promotes positive behavior in your toddler.

Balancing Discipline and Understanding

As a parent, it can be challenging to balance discipline and understanding when managing your toddler’s tantrums. It’s crucial to set boundaries and enforce rules while also showing empathy towards your child’s emotions.

When your child is having a tantrum, it’s important to remain calm and avoid reacting with anger or frustration. Take a deep breath and try to understand the underlying causes of their outburst. Perhaps they are feeling tired, hungry, or overwhelmed.

Once you understand the reasons behind the tantrum, you can address the behavior without dismissing your child’s feelings. For example, you can say something like “I understand that you’re feeling upset, but it’s not okay to throw things. Let’s take a break and calm down, and then we can talk about what happened.”

It’s also important to be consistent with your approach to discipline and ensure that everyone involved in your child’s care is on the same page. This can include caregivers, family members, or teachers.

Remember to communicate with your child and offer positive reinforcement for good behavior. Praise them when they handle difficult situations well and offer rewards for meeting expectations.

By finding a balance between discipline and understanding, you can effectively manage your toddler’s tantrums and promote positive behavior.


Dealing with toddler tantrums can be challenging, but it is important to remember that ignoring them may not be the most effective approach. By understanding the underlying reasons for tantrums and employing appropriate strategies, you can navigate these situations with greater ease and foster positive behavior in your toddler.

Establishing clear boundaries and maintaining consistency in your approach is crucial when dealing with tantrums. Providing diversions and distractions, practicing empathy and active listening, incorporating positive reinforcement and rewards, and reducing triggers can all be helpful techniques to employ.

If your toddler’s tantrums persist or significantly impact their daily life, seeking professional help may be necessary. It is also important to maintain consistency among all caregivers and strike a balance between discipline and understanding.

In conclusion, should you ignore toddler tantrums? The answer is no. Instead, take a proactive approach and use the strategies outlined in this article to effectively manage tantrum behavior and help your toddler develop positive coping skills for the future.


Should I ignore toddler tantrums?

Ignoring toddler tantrums may not be the most effective approach. It’s important to understand the underlying causes and employ appropriate strategies to manage them effectively.

What are some strategies for handling toddler tantrums?

Strategies for handling toddler tantrums include setting boundaries, offering choices, providing diversion and distraction, and practicing empathy and active listening.

What are the consequences of ignoring toddler tantrums?

Ignoring toddler tantrums can have both short-term and long-term consequences, such as escalating behavior and difficulty in addressing underlying issues.

How can I establish boundaries and consistency when dealing with tantrums?

Setting clear boundaries and maintaining consistency in your approach is crucial. Practical tips on establishing boundaries and reinforcing them effectively will be provided.

How can I provide diversion and distraction during tantrum situations?

Diverting your toddler’s attention and offering alternative activities can help diffuse tantrums. Various diversion and distraction techniques will be explored.

Why is empathy and active listening important when managing tantrums?

Understanding your toddler’s emotions and actively listening to their needs can contribute to managing tantrums effectively. The importance of empathy and how to practice active listening will be discussed.

How can positive reinforcement and rewards be used to handle tantrums?

Incorporating positive reinforcement and rewards into your parenting approach can encourage positive behavior during tantrums. Guidance on using these techniques will be provided.

How can I reduce triggers and anticipate my toddler’s needs?

Anticipating your toddler’s needs and minimizing triggers can help prevent tantrums from escalating. Techniques for identifying triggers and strategies to reduce their impact will be explored.

What are some time-out and calm-down techniques for managing tantrums?

Time-outs and calm-down techniques can be effective tools for managing tantrums. This section will discuss how to implement these techniques appropriately and their potential benefits.

When should I seek professional help for managing tantrums?

If your toddler’s tantrums persist or significantly impact their daily life, seeking professional help may be necessary. Guidance on when to consider professional intervention and available resources will be provided.

How can I ensure consistency among caregivers in managing tantrums?

Maintaining consistency among caregivers is vital in effectively managing tantrums. Strategies for ensuring everyone involved in your toddler’s care is on the same page will be explored.

How can I balance discipline and understanding when addressing tantrums?

Striking a balance between discipline and understanding is crucial when addressing tantrums. This section will provide insights on how to enforce boundaries while still showing empathy towards your toddler.

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