Nothing can short-circuit your sanity like a screaming toddler having a full-on meltdown. While you can't prevent or stop every tantrum, these proven expert moves can help make them less frequent and a lot more manageable.
Cut Your Kid Some Slack
What to Know: First and foremost, keep in mind that temper tantrums are a normal part of toddlerhood that help your child become more independent. "The phase from 18 months to about four years old is a critical period of development in which a child learns he's a separate being from Mommy," explains Dr. Fran Walfish, a psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, CA and the author of The Self-Aware Parent: Resolving Conflict and Building A Better Bond with Your Child. While he's establishing his independence, he's also learning to control not only his body, but his feelings -- and that takes time.
What to Do: When your child has a violent outburst, remind yourself that most tantrums are normal. "Your challenge as the parent is to balance love and nurture with setting and holding boundaries," says Dr. Fran. As hard as it is not to lose it yourself, try to be patient and use some of the following strategies to get through it.