The Dreaded Toddler Tantrum – Eight Survival Tricks

I’ve got to say, this toddler tantrum malarkey has pounced on me like a mugger from a bush. I mean, I’d heard all about these terrible twos, but give me a break. My kid’s barely one!

There’s no doubt about it – toddlers are angsty little suckers. It’s like they have all the “why the hell are you getting in my face” rage of a teenager, but with an even worse ability to express themselves. At least teenagers can talk (well, grunt).

It seems like it’s all going on for these toddlers. Teething, the dreaded leaps, having to learn to do ALL OF THE STUFF. No wonder they get ranty.

Now I don’t know much about much, but I’ve been trying out a few tricks in the interests of trying to keep my sanity in the eye of the storm. So I thought I’d share what works for me.

If you have any tips of your own (let’s face it, you’re probably all a lot better at this circus than I’ll ever be) get ready to add them to the list. Because when this hell kicks off, we need all the ideas we can get…

Surviving Toddler Tantrums
Toddler tantrums – what a circus! Photo by Layton Findlater via Pexels

Toddler Tantrum Trick #1

Making a constant shhhhhhh noise

No, not as in shut the hell up you little monster, you’re screwing with my mind. I’m not all bad. This is more of a white noise shh, to distract them from their little paddy fling.

Maybe they find it calming, or something. I know I do. And yes, it does help with keeping those swear words on lock down. As if we would!

So there it is – a constant shh. Be like the wind, man.

Toddler Tantrum Trick #2

Sing a nursery rhyme on a loop

For some reason, these tiddlers love a bit of repetition, and those nursery rhymes are like kiddy catnip.

How do they even know which tunes are theirs? Because this trick doesn’t work if you sing Snoop Dogg gansta rap, let me tell you. They’re no fools.

Although I’ve managed to trick my Tasmanian devil into believing “mum’s changing your bum bum” repeated fifty times in a sing song voice is an actual rhyme. Suckerrrr.

Another benefit of the nursery rhyme trick is it’s like putting my fingers in my ears and singing TRA LA LA I can’t bloody hear you. Win-win.

Toddler Tantrum Trick #3

Repeat back the tantrum noises in a non-aggressive, matter of fact fashion

This is like having a full-blown conversation in the language of paddy. What’s good for the goose, and all that.

Surviving Toddler Tantrums
Yeah that’s right, Mister. What’s good for the goose… Photo from Pixabay via Pexels

The thing about paddy noises is that they sound pretty stupid when repeated back. The boy can’t help but stare in bewilderment, a bit like when you bark at a dog. At first he seems impressed. Then because I’m such a good paddy actress, he begins to giggle. He can’t help himself. Mummy is just too funny. Et voila, bomb diffused. Mummy should work for the bomb squad.

Toddler Tantrum Trick #4

Be extra nice

Remember when there was a mean witch at school, and you dealt with it by being extra smarmy and nice? Well, it’s a bit like that. I’m not saying this has great success at making the tantrum stop, but it helps me feel like I’m back in control.

Because damn it, I can’t be outdone by a one year old!

The more whining ensues, the more charming I become. You won’t break me, tiny beast…

(And OK, if we’re being serious, when a toddler has a massive strop they often just need a bit of nice. So what the hey…)

Toddler Tantrum Trick #5

Leave the room for a Home Alone moment

You know the one – where Macaulay Culkin clasps his hands over his face and screams to the heavens. Admittedly, his outburst was caused by a nasty aftershave situation, but I’m sure if he had a toddler to contend with he’d do much the same.

Obviously make sure your child is safe and all that jazz, before you go MIA. Being left Home Alone didn’t work out so well for Macaulay when the burglars rocked up.

But I find a few seconds to myself to have a silent scream releases a bit of the crazy. Then I can reapply my mum face and waltz back in like nothing’s happened. Genius.

Toddler Tantrum Trick #6

Be the clown

Surviving Toddler Tantrums
Just clowning around – again.
Photo from Gratisography via Pexels

Do everything in a slap stick fashion with exaggerated enthusiasm and added drum rolls. Seems to trick them into thinking something good is on its way, so maybe they should quit the noise in case they miss it.

My poor child will grow up thinking putting your socks on is the event of the flipping year. And maybe it should be.

Toddler Tantrum Trick #7

Speak in keywords

One of the design flaws of a toddler is that they’re just not fluent in any language. Pretty annoying. But fear not. Much like a search engine, they will pick up certain keywords. (It’s a bit like SEO for bloggers – many giggles about that here!)

So when a tantrum arises, I try to stay calm and explain the situation using keywords. Like ‘hey, it’s OK. I might be confiscating your fave Gruffalo, but it’s snack time. There will be biscuits. Then we’ll go for a lovely walk, whereupon you’ll fall into a deep sleep, because mummy needs a breaaaak, beep beep beep it.

Surviving Toddler Tantrums
Come on, dude. There will be biscuits!
Photo by Stefan Lorentz via Pexels

I’m not suggesting bribery here, by the way. Feel free to replace the word biscuit with wholesome slice of apple if it’s in your child’s keyword dictionary. There’s just something about flinging them a bit of certainty to cling to that seems to appease them.

Toddler Tantrum Trick #8


Obviously take the child with you. But escaping the four walls when it’s all kicking off?


Plus, my little trickster doesn’t much like to act like a maniac in public. Of course, he has his moments. But in general he likes to pretend he’s the model child when folk are watching, reserving his best tantrum action for the house.

And if he does feel the need for a bit of a public showpiece, I can usually win a sympathetic nod from another understanding mother. Or at least I’ve got someone else to have a strop of my own in front of.

A New Job for Brazen Mummy?

So there are my tricks. When toddler-hood is done, I’m thinking of retraining as a crisis negotiator. Not sure how well the clown suit will go down, but I’ve got a lovely supply of biscuits.

Can you help the masses with any tips of your own? We’re in it together, peeps; I NEED YOU! So please do scroll down a bit and add your survival ideas in the comments box. SOS…

Give Me More!

If this made you snort into your cold coffee, I know you’ll LOVE these posts too:

Ten Brazen Truths About Toddler Groups 

Quiz – Are you a Brazen Mummy

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Credit for featured image – Photo from Pixabay via Pexels

50 Replies to “The Dreaded Toddler Tantrum – Eight Survival Tricks”

  1. Sooo going through this right now with my 18 month old! Can relate totally to your tips! I even tried the naughty step, but he quite likes it and now goes there willingly! Little sh*t but I love him x

    1. Naughty step – nice idea! But I can imagine my small guy would enjoy that too. These little tricksters…x

  2. Love the idea of repeating their sounds back to them, never tried it (or barked at a dog for that matter) but can totally imagine that working. On an unrelated note, that doll is bloody creepy.

    1. Ha ha, the doll is not getting much love! Tricky to find a good “tantrum” photo though, so had to get creative. 😂 x

  3. After the day I’ve had that was just what I needed! No idea if any of it works but it made me slightly wet my pants laughing! Cue pelvic floor exercises! I think I even shed a small tear as It’s just dawned on me this shit is going to last for a little while! Wake me up when it’s over please! Great post!

    1. So glad it cheered you up (and motivated you to do your pelvic floors – thanks for the reminder!). Yes – I’m too scared to ask anyone how many years these tantrums go on for. 😱😱 x

  4. You are a true tantrum pro already, loving these ideas and totally relate. It’s tantrum city for us at the moment, getting out the door on time takes some doing! I’m finding giving him a choice out of 2 options makes him think he’s making decisions which is definitely helping (giving him a choice of 2 coats rather than saying to put his coat on..) 💙 x

    1. Ooh, I like your thinking. You would be great in the world of crisis negotiations too! Will have to try out your tip. X

  5. I’ve got a threenager! Apparently three year olds go through the same hormones as a teenager. I didn’t go through the terrible twos with Alina, but as soon as she turned three, I noticed the difference in her being defiant and wanting specifc plates cups and throwing paddys. arrghh! 😉

    1. Oh wow, I did not know about this threenager thing! Help. 😂 Thanks for the tip off – I’ll have to step up my training…x

  6. Oo lots of good tips here! I love the idea of singing a nursery rhyme on loop – I’m sure that would distract my daughter in no time 🙂

  7. Great tips! I found walking out the room a good way to help with tantrums. I also noticed that tantrums particularly worsened right before they came out with a whole bunch (ok, maybe 2 or 3) new words – so a lot of it was communication frustration.

    1. Ah, interesting about the new words. We had less tantrums today, so I’ll keep my ears peeled…😆 x

    1. Definitely. If you lose your sense of calm you’ll end up with an even more ranty child. They vibe off you…😱 x

    1. Well done – it definitely pays to get your tricks in place nice and early. You’re going to ace this! X

  8. Oh a big hell yes to all of these, the shhing thing definitely helps me stay calm even if my toddler is still going crazy!xx

  9. Love this

    “Repeat back the tantrum noises in a non-aggressive, matter of fact fashion”

    Georgie is going through his tantrum stage which is coinciding with me wanting to lose his dummy. The temptation to give him it back to stop is so strong, but I do find mimicking his noises does help. Sticking my head out of the window helps me if I can’t leace the house too x

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