How to Tackle Tricky Tantrums

Based on research from Diono, half of all parents suffer at least one tantrum per day. We share some tips that may help curb the tantrums and keep the peace.

Parents often feel that all eyes are on them when their child has a meltdown, so parenting travel brand Diono, asked 2000 UK parents with children aged from 18 months to 5 years for details about their little one's tantrums. The results were surprising. 

According to the Stats:

  • It's official, the terrible twos really is a thing!The survey revealed that when it comes to anger and tears, the adage of the terrible twos is still true. Parents of 18 months to two-year-olds deal with the most tantrums, many (43%) saying that their little ones have two or more tantrums a day. There is hope however, as these statistics halve to 20% when the little ones reach 4 years of age.
  • Home is where the heart(ache) is!Over 80% of those asked said that their children mainly had tantrums at home.
  • Tired toddlers = temper tantrums.The most common reason for having a mini meltdown was tiredness (67%), but strangely only 14% of parents put their little one to bed to deal with a tantrum.
  • Needy nation of toddlers.33% of toddlers will have a tantrum if they can't have snacks or sweeties! 
  • Ignorance is bliss?!Parents handled tantrums overwhelmingly by ignoring them. Almost half said they carried on with what they were doing. Girls in particular were ignored more often than boys (52% vs 39%). Other key methods were using the naughty step or distracting the child.
  • Lucky little Londoners.Children in London were most likely to get what they want from a tantrum (nearly 20% compared to 7% for the rest of the UK), but that may be because it was more likely to happen on public transport!
  • Country calm. The worst area for tantrums is the North East, where 78.5% of children had tantrums more than twice a week. Children in Scotland were the calmest, with only 62% having a tantrum more than twice a week, and 9% of parents there saying their child never has a tantrum!

So, How Can We Combat Tantrums Before They Start?


It may seem like common sense that children have tantrums when they are tired, but it still happens. Sometimes it's unavoidable, but in some cases, there are things we can do combat the tiredness. Don't stop naps too early, and even after naps are things of the past, you may decide a one off is in order.

Children don't recover from a late night in a day, so they need regular and consistent sleep. After a late Friday night your child may need a whole week of early nights to be really rested. If your child is consistently tired, it might be worth re-adjusting their bedtime or looking to see if there are other factors at play.

The Hangries

Hungry children are also more likely to have tantrums. If you notice a pattern, e.g., your child has a tantrum every day on the way home from school, try bringing a snack with you and give it to them before you head through the park.

If you notice they have more tantrums after play dates, try to find out when they ate, and what they ate. If your child is used to different foods than what is served, you may find they aren't eating when they are away from home. This may mean trying new things at home, so they are more willing to try new things when out and about; it's easy for children to become comfortable with the familiar.

Attention Seeking

When you're out in public and the tantrum happens in front of other people, it's harder to ignore the behaviour. It can be embarrassing, and you may feel you are inconveniencing other people, but it's best to stop worrying.

If a child acts up for attention there must be consequences. It will always depend on the circumstance, but whatever you tell them the consequence of not stopping is, you must enforce it. If they have a tantrum because they want sweets and you give them sweets, there is no question, it will happen again.