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Hang around a toddler long enough, and you'll quickly learn there are a lot of things that can cause tantrums—maybe your child is overtired, overworked, overstimulated...or maybe they are just having a crummy day. Tantrums are inevitable and unpredictable, but it's our jobs as mamas to help our children through them.

We asked Motherly moms to share their number one way to deal with tantrums—and these mom-tested toddler tantrum tips are just too good not to share.

Here's what to try when your toddler has a tantrum.


Offer hugs

1. "Be your child's calm in the chaos. I always offer a hug to validate her feelings. Then wait for it to be over before we talk about it. Usually, now she asks for a hug herself." —Chantelle Hill

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2."I try to see if she can express herself, offer hugs and if she really needs the space. I give her space and let her know mommy is here if she needs me." — Samantha Peterson

3. "I try to be the "safe" place. We just entered the temper tantrum phase so I'm still learning. Right now, I just calmly sit beside him. I hold my arms out to offer a hug every few minutes to ensure that he knows I'm not mad at him." — Catherine Abrams

Acknowledge feelings

4. "I sit on the floor with him and wait quietly until he's ready to reach out for comfort. It's over in less than two minutes when I do it that way. 💕 I reaffirm the emotions he may be feeling, and tell him it's okay to have those. It's okay to be angry. It's okay to be tired or hangry. But it's not okay to hurt yourself or others because of those emotions. Then we find a solution. Usually, food because 90% of tantrums come from him being hangry. 😂" — Kaela Westbrook

5. "I let her be—I am showing her that I breathe very deeply and loud and she tries to imitate. Once she starts to calm down I speak to her with a very calm voice trying to explain to her that I acknowledge her feelings and the cause." — Par Parpla

6. "Encourage him to use his words and name his feelings or help me understand what's wrong. Sometimes, if it's fueled by exhaustion/overstimulation, give him space and make the environment conducive for a nap or quiet time." — Oriaku Onuoha Bean

Wait it out + talk about it

7. "I have started to sit quietly and wait for him to calm a bit, and then we hug. Trying to comfort in the midst of it doesn't work for us at all." — Jennifer Navors

8. "Typically I just tell my kiddo "Okay, I can see that you're upset. We can talk when you are calm." And I walk away and let him get it all out. He usually calms down fairly quick (he's 21 months old right now) and when he is calm we talk about whatever he is upset." — Delaney Dishong

9. "Get on their level and talk through why it's happening. Sometimes a redirection helps too." — Shayna Rohrer Kerkstra

Pull out books

10. "My twin boys are three and what really works [is] that I sit close to them so they can reach me if they need me and start reading their favorite story. Usually 1-2 minutes later they stop crying and they are coming close for a cuddle and a story. It works nine times out of 10." — Boglárka Wágner

Breastfeed

11. "Breastfeeding does the trick or it just prevents them." — Bea Harter Halbgewachs

12. "Boob. 🤷🏻" — Bridget Rosaline Neview

Sing

13. "I sing, "If you're angry and you know it." Right now it works. 🤷" — Erin Nicole

Breathing exercises

14. "I start doing deep breathing exercises so I don't lose it too. He follows by example after a few minutes. I was surprised the first time it worked. Hoping it continues for a while." — Hannah Hobbs

Become a toddler

15. "The best thing is you also become a toddler. Enjoy to the maximum, it's real fun." — Reshma Fathima

16. "I threw a tantrum with them, when they stopped I kept going and one said, "you look silly." That was the end of the tantrums to date 🤷." — Arahi Rana Wall

17. "Lay on the floor and throw a tantrum with them. 🤷🏻🤣." — Becky Snedeker

Make them laugh

18. "Make him laugh! Always works!" — Vicki Miller

Give choices

19. "Giving choices like what to wear or eat (after giving acceptable options) has really cut down on tantrums because she has more say in her day." — Alexis Kathryn Taylor

Blow bubbles

20. "We blow bubbles to calm [them] down and refocus on communication to problem solve (e.g. words, pointing, sign, etc.). The neurons that fire together wire together!" — Carolina Alexander

Stay flexible...and stay calm

21. "I've learned it's different for each child. What works for one does not always work with the other. But most of the time they want to be heard and understood and have gotten overwhelmed by their big feelings (and are tired haha)." — Kate Coyle

22. "Stay calm!!" — Maribel Rivera

23. "I just let them be. When they're done I'll give them treats and love... It's like you're on your PMS, but toddler version, so just let it pass...hehehe." — Aryan Gudz

[This post was originally posted December, 2019]

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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