19 - 21 Months

Tips to avoid tantrum triggers

Tantrums are part of life with a toddler 🙃 While they aren’t always predictable or avoidable, understanding the common causes could help you nip at least a few in the bud.

4 common tantrum triggers

Physical needs

Your toddler is more likely to have a tantrum when they’re hungry, tired, or uncomfortable. They have a much lower threshold than you do for handling these physical discomforts. Even skipping a nap or a snack could quickly lead to a tantrum. 


Your toddler is curious about everything, so it’s easy to forget that they can be easily overstimulated. Meeting new people, going to new places, and trying new activities—especially all at once—can overwhelm them and trigger a tantrum.

Changes in routine 

Your toddler’s routine helps them understand what’s coming next and makes them feel safe. Even small disruptions can be hard on them. Family travel, a change in caregivers, and the arrival of a new sibling are especially big changes that may result in more tantrums than usual.


Unlike adults who can plan ahead and organize their schedule, your toddler lives completely in the moment. Transitioning from one activity or place to another can be difficult for them because they don’t yet have the executive function skills to easily switch gears.

RELATED: “When it’s time to leave and your toddler won’t go

3 strategies to minimize your toddler’s outbursts

Pick your battles. If your toddler wants to wear mismatched shoes or a superhero cape, it’s often easier to let it go than risk a tantrum by insisting they wear something else.

Give them a break. When you’re at a special event, give your toddler some quiet moments to recharge. This could mean going for a walk or finding a calm place where you can read them a book or let them play quietly. 

Use distraction. Research shows that distraction can be an effective way to minimize tantrums. If your child seems on the verge of starting one, try redirecting their attention. A change of scenery, a favorite song, or a thumb wrestling match might be just enough to create a moment of connection and change the mood.

Learn more about the research

Deichmann, F., & Ahnert, L. (2021). The terrible twos: How children cope with frustration and tantrums and the effect of maternal and paternal behaviors. Infancy, 26(3), 469-493.

Potegal, M., & Davidson, R. J. (1997). Young children’s post tantrum affiliation with their parents. Aggressive Behavior: Official Journal of the International Society for Research on Aggression, 23(5), 329-341.


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Posted in: 19 - 21 Months, 22 - 24 Months, Social Emotional, Behavior, Lovevery App, Parenting, Child Development

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