Q&A: How do I comfort my toddler after a tantrum?
My daughter is 18 months old, and I am wondering how to deal with her tantrums. She does the usual throwing herself on the ground, kicking, and screaming. I ignore this like you're supposed to, but then she will get up and come to me, crying, wanting to be held and comforted. So, I pick her up and she calms down. Am I rewarding the tantrum? I feel like I'd be doing damage by denying her when she's asking to be comforted.
You are doing the right thing. The point of ignoring the tantrums is not to encourage misbehavior with your attention. When the tantrum has subsided, it is OK to give her back your affection. You may not want to make a huge deal out of comforting her, though, so as not to reinforce the whole pattern. Give her a firm hug, ask her if she is all done crying, and try to get on with the next activity as matter-of-factly as possible. You might also try literaly turning your back on her tantrums if you are not doing so already.