Toddler Tantrums

Science Discovers How To Instantly Stop Toddler Tantrums

Wish there was a secret trick to stop toddler tantrums in their tracks?

‘Hell yeah’ yell mums everywhere! Well, thanks to science, now there is!

A scientific study has cracked the toddler tantrum code! And it’s so simple, you’ll kick yourself!

Understanding how baby brains are wired

The experiment was run on the BB2 show ‘Babies: Their Wonderful World’. About 2,500 babies wore head gear that monitored brain activity in different scenarios.

Baby in head gear
Image source: BBC

In one scenario, an 18-month-old toddler was given a Perspex drawer full of chocolates just out of reach. This caused a complete tantrum meltdown – and rightly so! Think a mum version of a bottle of bubbles with no opener!

When mum tried to calm the child, hugs did not work. No news flash there for every mum who’s ever tried to cuddle a flailing toddler!

But then a toy dog is introduced to distract the toddler. And the monitors show a drop in heart rate. The tantrum ends, calm returns.

toddler development guide

Distract, distract, distract

Here lies the secret then you need to stop toddler tantrums – distract with a toy, not attention. A whole lot of ‘look over there!’ rather than offering hugs.

While this may not seem like groundbreaking news, the findings are remarkable. Especially for parents caught in the middle of a public toddler meltdown.

By using the latest technology available on such a large number of toddlers, science was able to prove conclusively that distraction with a toy is the key to stopping toddler tantrums. Cue frazzled hoorays from mums and dads everywhere!

Get baby gazing!

The study also used the technology to understand more about how soon babies can recognise human faces. It’s been commonly believed that babies can’t recognise human faces when they are very young. But that may not be the case.

In another scenario in the study, a one week old baby was fitted with the special head gear. When shown images on an iPad of a toy, the sensors detected a little change. But in an astonishing finding, when the baby was shown a human face part of their brain went into overdrive! It means that babies may respond to faces from birth.

So spending time gazing at your baby is never wasted – and now science says so too!

mum central

Toddler tantrums can be exhausting and embarrassing. Imagine how you’d feel if a stranger filmed your toddler’s tantrum! This mum tells her story.

Avatar of Kerry Rosser

I love my three country kids - and all things writing! Like most mums, I wear lots of hats - writer, children's author, organisational psychologist and the pairer of the odd socks!

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