Tackling tantrums at age 1: ‘terrible ones’
We’ve all heard of the Terrible Twos, but tantrums in our children (as most parents will know!) often start long before they turn two. In fact, it’s normal for your baby to begin demonstrating assertive behaviour soon after their first birthday, and it’s important to understand why.
All children, of course, develop at different rates, but at around the age of one, they’re generally beginning to become more aware of their world. They want to do things for themselves, but can’t. They want to express themselves – say ‘no’ to things – but can’t yet do this with speech. They’re curious and want to explore, but aren’t aware of the dangers, so they get upset when you stop their adventuring.
You may be in a hurry to get lunch finished, but your child wants to have a go; making a mess but in doing so, achieving something for themselves. Children want to control their environment and when they can’t, they do the only thing they can – they have a tantrum.
To avoid even worse behaviour by the age of two, it’s important to tackle tantrums head-on as soon as they start. Babyhood doesn’t last long, so it’s up to you as a parent to help your baby acquire his or her independence while still protecting them from any risks.
How do you do this?
- Where you safely can, let your baby say ‘no’, and accept this.
- Always stay one step ahead – don’t take a tired toddler on one last errand after a busy day…
- Remain calm when a tantrum does strike, and don’t ignore it – acknowledge the behaviour by talking reassuringly to your child.
- Remember – your child understands more than he/she can communicate at this stage, so warn them about their behaviour if you see a tantrum brewing, and change your schedule accordingly to avoid trouble.