1 year old tantrums can often seem to appear from nowhere.
One minute you are sitting down and having a nice family picnic, and the next minute, they have thrown themselves down on the picnic rug, kicking and screaming.
Is my 1- year-old actually having a tantrum?
It can be hard to come to terms with the fact that your little precious baby is starting to have temper tantrums. We are always led to believe that the “terrible two’s” are when the tantrums start to kick in.
This is not always the case. You might notice a few small tantrums at first, and then they may appear to occur more often. How you deal with this behavior and the strategies you take will be crucial in overcoming this stressful period of time.
Your little one is unable to communicate a lot at this stage of development, so this is one way they can get their feelings and frustrations out, and it is completely normal.
Crying, throwing things around, or even throwing themselves on the ground, are all signs that your baby is trying to communicate with you in the only way they know how.
Young infants are yet to learn about social skills, sharing and turn-taking. When they see something they want that they cannot have, there is little you can do to stop a tantrum.
1 year old tantrums are different to the tantrums of a 3 or 4-year-old. At this later age, they are aware of right and wrong and can understand the word “no”. In fact, they problaby have even told you “no” a few times already!
So, what can you do when you find that your 1- year-old is throwing a lot of tantrums?
Here are my top 5 tips for getting through this stage in your parenting and coming out the other side with your sanity intact:
I know you might not feel any patience when your baby is throwing themselves around and screaming, but if you can take some time in advance to develop strategies, you can overcome the urge to pull your hair out in frustration!
Patience is something that can wear thin very quickly, but it is important to put it in the front of your mind. Have you noticed that when your child is throwing a tantrum and you get all worked up as well, that it does not really improve the situation? It is a pattern that we often repeat time and time again. It results in a frazzled baby and a frazzled parent.
I remember a time when my son was little and he would keep throwing his food and bowl on the floor. No matter how many times I picked it up, he would throw it down again.
I was becoming so frazzled and could not work out what I was doing wrong. If I took the bowl away completely, he would scream. That screaming got louder and louder.
Neither of us were going to win in this battle. This is where I really needed some patience and should have thought outside the box for a different solution.
Looking back now, a good solution would have been to provide an alternative item for my son to throw. Something fun that would take away his desire to throw the bowl and food.
Distraction always works well and helps to avoid frustrations and negative emotions. Items such as soft throwing balls could do the trick, especially if he was still able to throw them from his high chair. He wanted my attention and to play a “game” with me and I fell into that trap.
So rather than food and bowl throwing, diverting his attention to throw something more appropriate and still play a “game” with me, would have worked really well. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Developing some skills in patience and remaining calm during a tantrum will do you and your baby wonders. Teach yourself some mindfulness or meditation strategies. I know it can be hard to switch off and try to relax, but if you are persistent, it will start to become easier.
Understanding is all about thinking like a 1- year- old. Put yourself in their shoes and try to discover why the tantrums keep happening. Are they tired or hungry? Should you alter their sleep and feeding routine? Do they have enough stimulating activities to keep them intrigued and interested in the world around them?
There are many questions that you could ask yourself to try and work out what is going on and to put yourself on their level. Things might start to make more sense when you have a deeper understanding of what is going on and why these tantrums might be occurring.
If you have taken a step back to look at their world from a different perspective, then make some changes that you feel would be beneficial.
If you are unsure if it is your current routines that are causing the tantrums, consider investing in a diary or planner that you can use to record your baby’s daily routine. This could help you to understand their patterns better and perhaps identify changes in their behavior throughout the day and evenings.
Once you have your routines mapped out and recorded, you could include times that you notice your little one starting to become restless or have a tantrum. It can be hard to remember everything that happens in your busy day as a parent, so this could be a helpful solution for you to understand what might be going on.
Trial and error are all it takes. We grow and learn through our mistakes, just as our children will learn to do throughout their life. Through understanding, you can move forward and make positive adjustments to your day that will not only help you but also your baby.
You can still be firm even though your little one is young. In fact, if you start setting firm boundaries from the very early stages, it can certainly make life a lot easier later on in life. They will have the strong foundation that you have built and this will definitely help their self-esteem as they grow.
Firm boundaries will help set the most important boundaries later in life, such as in regard to homework routines, bedtime and having friends over. I know they are only little now, but this is a pattern you are setting toward your future success as a parent.
Having firm boundaries also provides you with an opportunity to set up a reward system for desired behaviors. Once your child has calmed down and the behavior has subsided, you could offer an exciting activity as a reward. This will provide you with some additional positive bonding time as well.
As I mentioned earlier, communication between you and your child is crucial. Your child’s behavior and tantrums are a result of them trying to communicate with you. It could also be a power struggle, as they start to want to take control of situations.
Diving into a long conversation with your child about their behavior at this age will not result in a positive outcome.
Instead, communicate using short and simple phrases that your child can understand. Validate their feelings and let them know that you understand them. You can acknowledge that you know what they want by simply saying, “You want to throw your food on the floor?”. Let them know this is not something you want, but provide them with an alternative that can be thrown on the floor, making it a fun game (just like I mentioned earlier in regards to my own son and his food throwing episodes).
When communicating, make sure you are clear and easily understood by your little one.
Once your child has calmed down, it is important to reinforce to them that you are proud that they have calmed down. If a child learns to self-regulate their emotions, they will start to build strategies that will help them overcome many emotional situations as they grow and develop.
Emotional regulation tools are a valuable skill for any parent to teach their child from an early age. When they become frustrated, angry or upset, they will have a good base of strategies to help them deal with the situation at hand. This is because you have emphasized over the years how good they have been at calming down and resolving their own problems.
Recognizing their own emotions and behaviors, with your guidance, can be started from a young age. There are tools available to support you in your parenting, so have a look at what is available. You might like some simple books about emotions to help get you started!
Be kind to yourself along the way.
As you make your journey through the different stages of parenting you will find that there are many ups and downs. Hopefully, there are more ups! It is a joyful time in your life as you raise your baby, so enjoy the positive moments and be proud of the strategies you have put in place.