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Tips for a Misbehaving Toddler

Every parent fears the sudden and drastic outburst toddlers are prone to having, especially out in public. Screaming, kicking, and crying are all very common when your child is confused, angry, or doesn’t get their way. While it can be frustrating to deal with a child having a temper tantrum, it is important that you take steps to curb the behavior appropriately rather than resorting to excessive punishment or ignoring it altogether.

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The key to managing misbehaving toddlers lies in how you handle these outbursts, as almost all children are prone to tantrums. By handling them appropriately or even working to prevent them, you can work to minimize the occurrences and help them learn to manage their emotions themselves. There are several different strategies that are employed in Montessori classrooms that you can implement at home. These strategies are crucial to developing the independently motivated and emotionally mature students that are formed in a Montessori classroom.

Work to Prevent Tantrums

The famous quote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies incredibly well to temper tantrums. Tantrums and misbehaving are caused by children becoming upset or frustrated, so naturally working to prevent them from becoming frustrated or upset is the best way to avoid having to manage the outburst at all.
Some common forms of prevention are:

  • Giving the child attention – Children sometimes misbehave because they want attention. By actively interacting with your child regularly like a Montessori teacher guiding a student, you can ensure they feel like they are receiving proper attention.
  • Offering choices so they feel in control – Children like to feel in control of what they do, and by simply phrasing tasks as a question, you can make it so that they don’t feel forced to do something. This is presented in a Montessori classroom by the huge assortment of learning materials available to the students, letting them choose how to learn.
  • Recognizing signs of a tantrum and de-escalating them – If you see a child struggling with something or getting visibly upset or frustrated, offering help or talking to them calmly can have a soothing effect on them and stop their frustration from growing.

Show Understanding Rather Than Anger or Indifference

Parents and children feed off each other emotionally, making it important that you work to manage how you react to any tantrums that occur. Keep in mind that in many cases, the tantrums aren’t meant maliciously but instead occur due to frustration, anger, or sadness because of a lack of understanding. Their brains are not fully developed, meaning that they lack emotional intelligence required to appropriately handle stressful situations, leading to the outbursts.

Montessori teachers understand that it can be hard to process the constant stimulation they are experiencing, so they emphasize keeping a level head and reacting calmly and with care to any kind of emotional distress. By maintaining a calm environment and caring demeanor, they can manage tantrums effectively and work to discourage the behavior from escalating.

February 8th, 2018

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