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How to defuse a toddler tantrum in minutes

When you see a tantrum coming, you want to act fast. Take a look these ideas for stopping a meltdown before it happens or coping with the aftermath.


You can see the signs a mile off and it’s like a countdown has begun: can you find a way to divert your fractious toddler before there’s a meltdown in the supermarket aisle?

Being a small child can’t be easy. There’s so much that’s new and confusing, and all kinds of frustrations along the way. But it’s pretty hard on a parent, too, when they have to cope with a small screaming person in a supermarket aisle.

We can’t promise that we can stop tantrums altogether. But there are some tried-and-tested ways to head them off or cut them short that can make life that little bit easier during the terrible twos and threes. Take a look at these ideas.

Watch out for tantrum triggers

It can feel like tantrums arrive out of nowhere, but toddlers are just like us: often when they’re irritable it’s just because they’re tired or hungry.

A busy mum’s life can’t always be organised around a child’s routines, but picking your times for supermarket visits and carrying emergency snacks can help to head off the worst of the public meltdowns.

Distract and win

One of a parent’s greatest assets in the battle against tantrums is their child’s fast-moving attention span. When you start to see the quivering lip that might be a loud crying session on its way, that’s the time to distract them.

Point out something unusual in your best ‘excited’ voice or take out a toy that you keep stashed in your handbag to capture their attention. If you can keep it going, chances are they’ll forget what was upsetting them within a few minutes.

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Show understanding

It’s hard to be a little child. You don’t have the words to express your emotions, so sometimes all that comes out is a wail or a scream. But it can help as a parent if you remember that your toddler is trying to communicate. Showing that you understand why they’re upset and trying to offer them comforting hugs and solutions to their problems can help to prevent a few tears from turning into the full, red-faced tantrum.

Ignore them

It won’t work for every situation – it takes a brave mum to try this technique in a busy restaurant – but for some toddlers, tantrums become a way of seeking attention. So the more it works, the more they try it.

If this is your child, try not to engage with them when they scream and cry at home (just keep an eye out to ensure they don’t hurt themselves). Later when they’re finished and quiet, you can reward them with attention then.

Take care of the clean-up

Tantrums can be messy, especially if they take place over the dinner table, a regular battleground for toddlers. When you little darlings have thrown dinner all over their clothes, you’ll want to act fast – so Ariel 3in1 pods* are ideal, removing even tough stains.

There’s no measuring, just the right amount of three types of detergent in a handy pod – ready to tackle anything a toddler can throw at it. And because the pods are locked away in new child-proof family packs – just keep them high up and correctly closed – it means they’re safe from even the naughtiest little explorer.

* Like any household product, keep Ariel 3in1 pods away from children.

How have you tackled toddler tantrums? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below.

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