18 Month Temper Tantrums are common in toddlers. As they try to navigate a complex and overwhelming new world they can face a variety of challenges that test them physically and mentally.
These challenges are made more difficult when they are developmentally tested. At 18 months your child is finding expression for simple emotions and trying to cope with more complex emotions.
These complicated emotions are more difficult to express as your toddler is still building the necessary vocabulary to express themselves correctly.
It is this growth and uncertainty that is the main cause of 18 Month Temper Tantrums and it’s your first place to start when learning how to discipline a toddler.
Related: How To Discipline An 18 Month Old
4 Key Reasons Behind All 18 Month Temper Tantrums
1. Basic Needs
Many toddlers will act out when they don’t have their basic needs met. This can be a contributing factor for a toddler who shows 18 month old tantrums and clingy tendencies.
Ensure that your child’s basic needs are being met. A high majority of tantrums are caused by your baby’s basic needs not being fulfilled adequately.
Ask yourself these questions:
Are they hungry?
18-month-olds tend to have diverse eating patterns.
They will eat a lot more on some days and then a lot less on others depending on their needs. Make sure you plan for this “ebb and flow” pattern and provide enough food for there main meals and offer plenty of healthy snacks throughout the day.
Are they thirsty?
Children will often forget to drink.
They are so excited and playful that they often forget to drink even if you leave their bottle out for them. To ensure that they are getting enough fluids it’s important you monitor how much they drink, especially on hotter days.
Are they tired?
One of the main reason for 18 month old tantrums at bedtime is tiredness.
As your child has a more active routine they will often forget to nap or miss naps altogether. This can cause a knock-on effect as they will get too tired to sleep. The best way around this is to ensure you stick to a strict nap and bedtime routine to ensure they have adequate rest.
Normal 18-month-old babies tend to sleep for 10 to 12 hours per night and have one 2 hour nap in the day (or sometimes shorter naps equally 2 hours)
A consistent bedtime routine will also promote the feeling of being safe, secure and in control.
This all adds up to a less overwhelmed feeling and fewer 18 month old tantrums when told no.
Have they been stimulated enough?
Your child needs plenty of stimulation throughout the day.
This should be a mixture of playtime and activity time at home and outdoor activities. Ultimately, this will help to keep their analytical and intellectual mind stimulated which will result in fewer tantrums and more rest time.
Could they be agitated about something else?
Even growing pains that all toddlers go through can cause extreme discomfort and distress.
Therefore, your toddler may be more fragile at certain times and you will need to be more patient and show more empathy more often.
Try and familiarise yourself with any developmental changes they may be experiencing and take this into consideration when handling 18 Month Old Tantrums
2. Stay Calm
When your child gets into a mini rage and you can see a full-blown tantrum on the horizon the best thing to do is stay calm. Patience is your best defensive weapon so use it wisely. If you get aggressive and angry then you will only be showing your child that this is the appropriate way of expressing your emotions when you are upset.
Instead, keep calm and figure out the best way to diffuse the situation and get your child back to normal again.
Remember, this doesn’t mean ignore your child, far from it. If he’s kicking, screaming or biting you then calmly take him away from the situation.
You need to ignore the attempts to get your attention as this can be the main reason for a temper tantrum in the first place. Children crave attention and will get it in any way they can.
If you show more attention to negative behaviour then you do positive behaviour then eventually your child will continue to get your attention in the simplest possible way, throwing a tantrum.
Children are very easily distracted and this is especially true for 18-month-olds. You can distract your child away from a tantrum with a joke, laughter, a toy, a song, some food, a pet, pretty much anything they show an interest in.
Once they are successfully distracted you can turn to them and explain why throwing a tantrum is not the acceptable way to get attention or get what they want.
1 way to avoid 18 Month Temper Tantrums and especially 18 month old tantrums at bedtime are to give your toddler a soft toy (like a teddy bear or doll) to hold at night. This could give them some comfort to fall asleep with.
If they end up playing a little before bed with the toy it’s not the end of the world. Parenting is about finding smart solutions to small problems and sometimes losing the battle to win the war.