We’ve all been there. Your child’s tantrum is in full-force and you want to escape the situation. But there’s a way to tame temper tantrums so that they happen less often, and you may even be able to help prevent them.
CALM YOURSELF, CALM THEM
When your child starts to get out of control, it’s important to remain calm. This is easier said than done, as our emotions often get the best of us. If you feel yourself heating up, try taking a few deep breaths, counting to 10, or taking a drink of water. No matter what, by keeping your emotions level, you have a better chance to diffuse the situation.
Then, focus on calming them. Try getting on their level and looking them in the eye. Children like to feel respected and understood, and this shows that you empathize with their situation. Offer a hug or cuddle and help them learn strategies such as counting to 10 or taking deep breaths.
Believe it or not, your child is throwing a tantrum for a reason. They have a need that’s not being met or a feeling they can’t control. It may not be realistic, but it’s very real to them. Think about why your child might be upset. Once you can identify the possible trigger, you can diffuse the situation and help your child calm down. You may also start to see a pattern and be able to predict when a tantrum might be coming on. Here are some possible reasons your child could be having a difficult time.
- Not being able to say what’s on their mind because they don’t have the language yet.
- Not feeling well, being hungry, or needing sleep. When our basic human needs aren’t met, it’s normal to go into an emotional spin. It could also be because they need to be tended to in some way, like needing a diaper changed.
- They’re looking for control. When your child gets overwhelmed or confused, they might try to seek control and a power struggle ensues. This can happen at any age.
Aside from staying calm and getting to the bottom of the situation, there are other ways to help. Giving your child coping strategies is invaluable in teaching them how to use their words and manage their emotions, and will eventually help prevent temper tantrums. They learn from watching you, so modeling appropriate reactions to things that bother you is a good start. You can also help them through their feelings by showing them what they should have said, exposing them to other people’s feelings and how they affect them, and helping them learn how to identify what might be triggering their tantrums. You can do this during the tantrum, but only after they are calm.
Another good strategy is to establish routines in your home. Children that know what is expected and what to expect often deal better with emotions and changes. In addition to routines, be sure to have a list of activities to draw from to engage your child and keep them busy. Create a busy bag to take to doctor’s visits or the grocery store to entertain them when they can’t have your full attention. Give your child options for things to do when they start to feel off, like having a cuddle or taking a walk. And be sure to let them know that they can always come to you with their feelings. Establishing that foundation is key to building relationships with your children as they get older.
One important thing to remember is that you can’t solve all of your child’s problems for them. Helping them with every problem or doing every task for your child can cause more whining, tantrums, and behavior issues in the long run. Helping your child learn how to manage their emotions is different than doing everything for them. Be sure to carefully approach the tantrum so that you’re not fixing their problem outright, but instead helping them through it by modeling and teaching appropriate reactions and solutions.
This will set your child up for success later in life.
Temper tantrums may seem hard and frustrating, but they are a necessary part of your child’s development. It’s how they express themselves, and by helping them through it with these tips, you’ll eventually tame your child’s tantrums.
Here at Early Childhood University, we understand that each child is unique and we tailor-fit our approach to support their growth and development. Find out more by visiting our website or giving us a call.