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7 ways to stay calm during your child’s tantrums

There is a reason children save their biggest tantrums for us—they trust us.

7 ways to stay calm during your child’s tantrums

Between teaching a classroom of 3 through 6-year-olds and having a 16-month son old at home, I see my fair share of tantrums.


I admit tantrums used to send me into a state of mild panic, especially if there were strangers around. My heart would start beating faster. I would feel all eyes on me. I would try to think fast and distract the child and avoid the tantrum altogether.

Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.

Children are experts at sensing our emotions, and if we are tense and anxious, it only makes the tantrum worse. It sends the message that their big feelings are too much for us to handle, which is of course not very comforting.

The key to helping a child through a tantrum is to stay calm. Even if they are screaming so loudly that they can’t hear you, even if they’re lying face down on the floor and can’t see you, they feel your calming presence.

So both for your sanity, as well as to help soothe your child, it’s well worth it to find a way to stay calm through the next tantrum.

Here are some strategies that really help:

1. Take the pressure off

For me, the most helpful thing has been letting go of the feeling that I need to “fix it” when a tantrum starts. Once I realized that it’s not my job to stop the tantrum, that it’s just how young children express their big emotions and let off steam, I began to breathe a little easier. The pressure was off, and that allowed me to stay calm, which helped the tantrum to end sooner.

There are many things we can control in a young child’s life, but emotions are not one of them. We can’t fix it when our child is writhing on the floor. We can be there with him and offer compassion and empathy, silently sending him the message that his feelings are okay and that we can handle them. Know that that is enough.

2. Build in extra time

Trying to rush a tantrum only makes it worse. Despite how it sometimes seems, young children are not choosing to have a tantrum. Feelings build up inside of them until they simply must find release, which is why these outbursts are often over seemingly ridiculous things like the wrong plate or a drink spilling.

When they reach this state, children need to feel connected to us and know that they are safe to express what they’re feeling.

Rushing or trying to distract them does the opposite. It shows that we do not see their feelings as valid, which only makes them more upset.

When your child is at the height of the tantrum stage, try to build in an extra 15 minutes whenever you have to be somewhere at a certain time. That way, you can stay calm when your little one throws a tantrum over having to wear a coat in February, knowing that you can help him through it and still get to school on time.

3. Accept that the tantrum is happening

When you see your child losing control, arching his little back or letting out the first shriek of a tantrum, take a big breath and silently acknowledge and try to accept that it is happening.

Tantrums can be emotionally draining, both for our children and for us, but it can help to try to accept it and view it as a time to connect emotionally with your child.

There is a reason children save their biggest tantrums for us—they trust us. They feel safe enough with us to share their feelings—all of them—even the scary and unpleasant ones. While that’s not always fun, it really is an honor when you think about it.

4. Minimize words

Trying to talk over a screaming toddler can make anyone crazy. This is not the time to teach a lesson, negotiate or reason. A screaming child can’t hear you, both because of the noise and because he’s not in a rational state.

Once your child calms down (and I promise he will eventually), you can talk through the situation that resulted in the tantrum if you need to.

5. Remember that it's healthy

When you’re out and see another mom peacefully shopping with her three angelic children while you try to wrestle your one screaming child back into the cart, it’s easy to think, What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do this?

If you find yourself feeling this way, just repeat, “tantrums are normal and healthy.” We all have perfect, peaceful moments with our children and we all have loud messy ones too, and that’s okay.

Tantrums are no fun, but it can help to remember that they are truly a healthy thing for young children and don’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.

6. Remove your child from the situation

If your child has a meltdown in public, respectfully removing him can help him feel protected, and help you stay calm.

It’s really hard to stay calm through your child’s tantrum when it feels like everyone is watching. Even if you’ve accepted the tantrum (go you!) and know you don’t need to stop it, no one likes to feel judged. Your child may also feel all of those eyes on him, so it’s perfectly acceptable to take him outside or to the car until he’s ready to continue whatever you’re doing.

When a child has a meltdown in the entryway to the classroom at school, I say something like, “I see you’re upset. I’m going to help you find a safe spot to sit.” It’s important to keep your tone and body language really calm so that it’s clear that you’re not angry, you’re just looking out for him. You’re in this together.

7. Relish the cuddles

Once the tantrum has run its course, many children seek out connection and may want to hug or sit together. It can help to remember the cuddles to come when your little one is screaming “Go away!”

Toddlerhood is famously hard, and tantrums play a big part in that. Trying your best to stay calm and let the tantrum pass will help make this phase a little easier for everyone. And when you do lose your cool—as we all do mama—know that you will have another chance to practice your mid-tantrum Zen all too soon.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

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This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

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Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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