My daughter is only 15 months old and has already mastered the tantrum. I'm not quite sure how to handle these, as she doesn't really understand consequences yet. I'm mostly going by the say-no-then-redirect-attention method for now. Due to its timeliness, I was interested in a CNN article titled "Why toddlers throw temper tantrums." Along with providing some science behind tantrums (young kids have underdeveloped prefrontal cortexes, the part of the brain that regulates emotion and controls social behavior), the article gave some good advice for how to handle them. Here are the cliff notes on how to handle two types of tantrums:
1. When your kid is looking for attention or a tangible item (toy, food, etc.): Ignore the response and control your own emotional composure (I know--easier said than done). When you comfort a child in the middle of a tantrum, you reinforce the behavior. Instead, say 'I'm sorry you're upset. When you calm down, I'll give you a hug and we can talk about what happened.'" This way, you offer support and sympathy while still showing your tot how to regulate his emotions.
2. When you kid doesn't want to do what you want him to do (clean up, go to bed, , etc): Ignoring him or giving him a time-out gives him what he wants (a way out of doing the task). Instead, tell your kid that if he doesn't do the task (say, putting a jacket on) in five seconds, you're going to put your hands on his and do it together. The author writes, "If your tiny rebel makes no move after the five seconds are up, take his hands in yours and gently force the coat on. If your child begins to slap or bite you, continue putting the coat on and then put him in time-out (or take away a privilege, if that's your standard discipline tactic). That way, your child sees he still has to wear the coat (so his protests were ineffective) and now has an additional consequence for his unacceptable behavior."
What do you moms out there think? Are these effective tactics? What else has worked (or not worked) for you?