You may be finding that every time you go to diaper or dress your child you are in a battle that is worthy of a movie being made of it.  It can feel like you are wrestling a full sized bear when your child is refusing a diaper change or to get dressed. 

Tantrums are a normal thing during toddler age.

Tantrums can happen for numerous reasons.  The main causes of a tantrum is a child is hungry, tired, sick, or unable to communicate what they want.  Other reasons of a tantrum are feeling a lack of control, stress about mom or dad leaving for work, teething, environment changes, feeling rushed, or feeling being bossed too much. 

Our little toddlers have strong opinions, these opinions though are part of their development.  Your toddler is wanting to learn some independence.  They also have sophisticated thoughts but no language to communicate what they are feeling or thinking. 

Tantrums can happen when getting dressed for a toddler for a number of reasons.  Finding the cause can help determine how you overcome this time in your child’s development.  Sometimes though the cause isn’t as clear and it could just be a phase your child is going through.  


Tantrum Coping Tips


Remain Calm

The main thing you have to remember when your child starts screaming, fighting, and crying is to remain calm.  Take a few deep breaths so you don’t get angry yourself.  It is stressful when your child starts having a tantrum.  It can become very overwhelming especially if it happens daily.  It is important that you remain calm and collected though so your child doesn’t feed off your anger or anxiety.  

Assess The  Situation

After you have calmed yourself, assess the situation.  Did your child not eat a good dinner last night, could they be super hungry?  In that case you could let them eat their breakfast first then getting dressed may not be such a battle. 

Don’t Be In A Hurry

Switch your routine around if it stops the tantrums and makes it easier on you and your child.  Make sure you are leaving enough time in the morning that you aren’t getting dressed in a huge rush.  The feeling of being rushed can cause your child to lose it and go into a full blown tantrum.  

Start A Morning Routine

Create a morning routine for your toddler.  Morning routines are not just for grown ups.  We all have some kind of morning routine regardless of what age we are.  The morning routine just may look different.  It is never too early to start a morning routine with your toddler. 

You can make a picture routine that they can follow along with showing them what they have to complete each morning.  This could be getting dressed, brushing teeth, and eating breakfast before they have to leave for daycare, preschool, or your morning errands.  Having this written down on a laminated sheet where they can use a dry erase marker to mark off allows them to get involved and make them feel like they are accomplishing tasks on their own, even if you do help out a little.  

Empower Your Toddler With Choices

Give your child choices.  Lay out two acceptable clothing options that are weather appropriate and let them choose.  Too many choices can be overwhelming.  If you see your child getting overwhelmed, cut back on the choices you are giving them.  This could be letting them pick out their shirt every day, but you always pick out their pants.  Allowing them to pick out their whole outfit on their own may end you with a toddler in a swimsuit in the middle of winter.  Pick out their outfit before bed, so they know the first thing they do in the morning is put on the clothes they picked out. 

You can also find times where your child can practice undressing and dressing themselves.  Allow for the extra time it may take your child to practice dressing and undressing.  This act of dressing and picking their clothes out can help grow their independence as well as build their confidence. 

When checking through your child’s clothes do a comfort check.  Make sure they are the right size, there are no scratchy tags, and the fabric is soft.  

Pick Your Battles

With any tantrum trigger, pick your battles.  If your child only wants to wear dresses or skirts.  Why fight it?  Let them.  Make sure in the winter times you pair their skirt or dress with warm stockings or sweats underneath.  If your child will only leave the house with their superman cape, let them.  Obviously make sure what they are wanting to wear isn’t dangerous, is seasonally appropriate, and isn’t disrespectful. 

Toddlers Like Being Without Clothes

Nudity is normal.  Most toddlers like to be somewhat naked.  This could be not wanting pants or a shirt on.  If your child is screaming because he doesn’t want pants on and you are not leaving the house, it may be a moment where you just allow them to have no pants.  Give naked time to your child.  After bathing for ten minutes you get free naked time.  Set a timer so when they hear the timer go off they know it is time to get dressed into their pajamas.  

Reward Good Behavior

Reward your child when they get dressed without a tantrum.  This reward can be putting a sticker on a poster you keep on their bedroom door.  Always verbally praise them when they do something you like.  



Toddlers are little firecrackers trying to figure out independence, communication, and their own opinions.  All of which can lead to some huge larger than life tantrums.  Remember to remain calm.  This fighting getting dressed usually passes, but for some children it may not pass as quickly as you hope.  If it gets to the point where you cannot leave the house or you are skipping out on events because your child’s tantrums are too much you may want to speak to your child’s pediatrician to make sure something more serious isn’t going on.  


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