What should I do when my toddler has a tantrum?

Q: My toddler throws a tantrum if she doesn't like the clothes I've picked out for her. What should I do?

A: Give her a choice. Tantrums are a way of life for toddlers because they're not yet capable of managing or communicating their frustration in another way. But you can defuse many meltdowns by letting your child feel as if she has some control. Lay two outfits on the floor, for example, and make it her "job" to pick one. If your child still loses it, help her to calm down by taking a time-out from the situation, getting down on her level, and letting her know that you're listening to her and you understand why she's upset. --Jeannette Moninger

Copyright 2008. Used with permission from the February 2008 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009


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