Toddler Tantrums

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Ever wonder how your precious little one can be so happy in one moment, but so incredibly cranky the next? Tantrums are a daily part of life for every toddler, the 2 T’s go hand in hand! As a parent, one must understand that it is completely natural for them to put up such displays of emotion, like anger or sadness. They are still unable to understand and handle being frustrated.

What are Tantrums? How to raise your child? It’s the age old question isn’t it?

Parents often debate about the best or rather the most effective parenting.

Order is one of the needs of life, which when satisfied, produces great results and satisfaction. Dissatisfaction leads to an emotional outburst which we term as “Tantrums”. Tantrums are, unfortunately, a fact of life when you have a toddler in the house. One minute your child is as happy as can be and the next he/she is a ball of rage — crying, whining, screaming, disobedient and, in some cases, out of control. Put yourself in your little one’s shoes and you will understand how frustrating it is to be unable to communicate ones feelings.

Tantrums are normal during a child’s development. Some children may often throw tantrums, whereas others rarely throw them. Toddler tantrums are nothing but your child’s need to assert himself / herself and express his/her frustration at a given situation.

Tantrums seem like a force of nature, something we just have to deal with as parents of toddlers and preschoolers. Yet when you observe toddlers in a Montessori classroom, you are struck by how rare tantrums are. After an initial transition period, ongoing bouts of intense heart-wrenching cries are all but absent in a Montessori environment. While there are conflicts and instances of children experiencing negative emotions which are a natural part of life, a child learns to manage these and not eliminate them. One might wonder as to what do Montessori teachers do to create such a peaceful and harmonious environment, and how can you as non-Montessori trained parents apply some of these secrets at home.

In a Montessori classroom, teachers deliberately accommodate a young child’s need for order. Materials are displayed on low shelves, and each piece has its special spot. The day follows a clear and consistent routine – outdoor time, indoor time, focus on personal hygiene, snack time, work period etc.

Maria Montessori observed that young children often get agitated when even little things in their lives go out of place. While to an adult the issue may seem trivial but if observed properly one would notice that the source of child’s frustration is a broken routine. A snack in a new container, a different seat at the table, a toy that cannot be found, an interruption during play time – all these may seem to be insignificant to us, but for a toddler, these small things often set off a major reaction. These seemingly irrational tantrums are actually caused by a disruption of the child’s perceived sense of order.

Toddlers are just discovering their world. To them it is largely a mysterious place where things are alien and at times scary. The need to operate in an environment that is safe, predictable and in their control is of utmost importance for their mental well-being. Such a conducive environment also helps prevent most tantrums.

In the Montessori environment, teachers understand and respect the toddler’s need for order, independence and personal space and are encouraged to name and express their feelings. This in turn helps in making the toddler less prone to tantrums and leads to a more enjoyable time for the entire family.

Stay tuned for next article – How to deal with Tantrums.

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