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Like so many people, I used to judge that mom with the screaming, bratty toddler at the supermarket before I became a mother. And like so many, I've been that desperate mom whose kid threw himself on the floor because he couldn't have another bar of chocolate. I ate humble pie and learned that judging other peoples' parenting is much easier than dealing with temper tantrums. Still, there are many tactics that can help a toddler to calm down.

Toddler tantrums inside the house

Tantrums with a toddler in the house are often easier to deal with than those your child throws when you are out and about. It is always a good idea to examine the underlying cause of a tantrum, either while it lasts or afterward. Common causes of tantrums are tiredness, hunger, frustration and boredom, and being misunderstood or ignored. The reasons for the tantrum should ideally impact how a parent deal with it.

Time-outs are very popular, and they do work for many children and parents. But, they can add to the anger of a toddler who is already frustrated and make an ignored child feel even more ignored. Sometimes, a "time-in" is better. These involve holding your toddler tight in your lap, and comforting her. Acknowledging the child's feelings at the time of a tantrum may even be more effective in many situations.

Even if you can't give into the demands of your toddler, it is extremely comforting for many children to know they are understood. And, what should you do if you believe in gentle discipline but find yourself losing your own temper, and wanting to smack? When I am about to break, I give myself a time-out. I leave the child who is throwing a tantrum to it and have a glass of water. When I return, after a minute or so, we usually both feel calmer.

Tantrums when you are out and about

Tantrums are that much more awkward when you are outside of the house, and people are watching you. The pressure you feel to get your child to behave nicely again can make you more angry than you would normally be. In my experience, the mentioned time-ins work well in places like a store, church or other peoples' houses. But I have to admit that I am more likely to give in to whatever it is the child wants when a tantrum is causing other people grief. I am certain I am not the only one.

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