Your baby’s first . . . Tantrum

Photography: Lion Fox & Co

By Elizabeth Pantley

A baby’s first tantrum can take you by surprise. Your baby can really shock you by shrieking, stamping, hitting, or making his whole body go stiff. But don’t take it personally! You haven’t “caused” this. Baby tantrums aren’t about anything you’ve done wrong, and they aren’t really about temper, either – your baby isn’t old enough for that. The ways you’ll respond to your baby’s behaviour when he is older are different than how you should respond now. 

Why babies have tantrums and what you can do about it 

A baby tantrum is an abrupt and sudden loss of emotional control. Various factors bring tantrums on, and if you can identify the trigger, then you can help him calm down and perhaps even avoid the tantrum in the first place. Here are the common reasons and ways to solve the problem:

Reason for tantrumPossible solution
OvertirednessSettle baby down to sleep; Provide quiet activity
HungerGive baby a snack or something to drink
FrustrationHelp baby achieve his goal or remove the frustration; Use distraction
Fear/anxietyHold and cuddle baby; Remove baby from difficult situation
Inability to communicateTry to figure out what he wants; Calmly encourage him to show you
Resisting changeAllow a few minutes for baby to make adjustment
Over stimulationMove baby to a quiet place
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