Toddler experts offer up top tips to tackle tantrums

AGE FOTOSTOCK

Any parent or caregiver of young children will be familiar with the tantrum phase.

But while there is near endless advice circulating on the internet on what to do when your little one has a meltdown, it's hard to know where to start!

In light of the issue, the founders of the mega-popular Instagram account Big Little Feelings (@BigLittleFeelings), Kristin Gallant and Deena Margolin, have offered up their top tips.

Try out a '10-minute miracle'

The premise behind this idea is simple - just spend 10 minutes of uninterrupted time with your toddler or child. Make sure there are no distractions, such as TV or devices, and give them your undivided attention.

"Anytime you are seeing an uptick in unwanted behaviour or just not great behaviour - screaming, hitting, whining, more tantrums than usual - use the '10-Minute Miracle' to de-escalate those behaviours," said Kristin, whose background is in international maternal and childhood education. "Basically, toddlers want your attention so badly that they will use negative behaviours like hitting, whining, screaming and kicking to get your attention. And the '10-Minute Miracle' is about proactively filling up their attention tank so that they don't have to rely on negative behaviours."

Play it cool

Mealtimes can be endlessly difficult for parents. So, next time you are dealing with a picky eater try a hands-off approach.

Based on their research, Kristin and Deena recommend an approach that includes serving meals - including dessert - without comments like "just one more bite" or "good job eating those peas".

"A child is more likely to experiment when they're given the space to do so," noted Deena, a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Opt for the volume up/volume down game

Believe it or not, a toddler's screaming is not a "bad" behaviour. Instead, try playing the 'volume up/volume down' game in calm moments to help build control.

"Turn the volume up: practice getting very loud, on purpose. Turn the volume down: practice getting very quiet, on purpose," the expert noted. "Make sure you do this during a calm moment - not in the middle of a tantrum/screaming as learning can't happen in times of heightened emotions. It's like brain weightlifting - which means that little muscle will become stronger and more accessible over time for those tough moments."