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How to deal with toddler tantrums

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Ignore the Kid
The reason this works is fascinating: "During a tantrum, your child is literally out of his mind. His emotions take over -- overriding the frontal cortex of the brain, the area that makes decisions and judgments," says Jay Hoecker, MD, a Rochester, Minnesota, pediatrician. "That's why reasoning doesn't help -- the reasoning part of his brain isn't working."

Give Your Child Some Space
"Sometimes a kid just needs to get his anger out. So let him!" says Linda Pearson, a nurse practitioner and author of The Discipline Miracle. They're able to get their feelings out, pull themselves together, and regain self-control without engaging in a yelling match or battle of wills with you." This trick can work on its own or in tandem with the whole ignoring bit.

Create a Diversion
This is all about a deft mental switcheroo getting your kid engaged and interested in something else so she forgets about the meltdown she was just having. "My purse is filled with all sorts of distractions, like toys ones my kids haven't seen in a while, books, and yummy snacks.

Discipline Without Spanking
The next time you feel the urge to spank, take a deep breath instead and consider what you want your child to learn. Watch this video for more tips on how to discipline your child.

Find Out What's Really Frustrating Your Kid This trick is for tantrums among the under-2-and-a-half set, says Dr. Hoecker. "Children this age usually have a vocabulary of only about 50 words and can't link more than two together at a time. Their communication is limited, yet they have all these thoughts and wishes and needs to be met.

This may feel like the last thing you want to do when your kid is freaking out, but it really can help her settle down," Levy says. "I'm talking about a big, firm hug, not a supercuddly one.

Offer Food or Suggest a Little R&R
"Being tired and hungry are the two biggest tantrum triggers.

Give Your Kid Incentive to Behave
Certain situations are trying for kids. Maybe it's sitting through a long meal at a restaurant or staying quiet in church. Whatever the hissy hot button, this is the trick: "It's about recognizing when you're asking a lot of your child and offering him a little preemptive bribe.

Speak Calmly
This is a biggie and is much easier said than done. But experts insist you must keep your cool during a child's tantrum. "Otherwise, you'll get into a power struggle and make the whole thing escalate

Laugh It Off
Every parent dreads public tantrums, for obvious reasons. You worry other parents will think you're a bad mom -- that you've raised an out-of-control demon child. But that, says Kazdin, can tempt you to make choices that will only lead to more fits.

Get Out of There
Getting kids away from the scene of the tantrum can snap them out of it. "It's also a great strategy when you're out and about.

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