5 Ways To Deal With Temper Tantrums In Kids
Does your child throw himself to the ground, scream, and kick his feet? You're not alone. All kids throw temper tantrums every once in a while. What's a temper tantrum? And how to deal with temper tantrums?
A temper tantrum is an intense storm of emotions. They are usually anger, loss, disappointment and deep frustration, in a young child. In toddlers, this emotional outbreak causes crying, screaming, stomping, falling down, kicking, biting, hitting, throwing things, banging the head or holding breath.
They are no doubt embarrassing and downright frustrating. But temper tantrums can be resolved with a little patience and persistence on your part. These discipline strategies can help your child see that no matter what happens to him, throwing a tantrum won't help.
How To Deal With Temper Tantrums (5 Proven Steps)
Prevent the tantrum
Set aside regular playtime with your child. Let him take the lead in choosing the activity, and give him your full attention. Look for opportunities to point out his good behaviours, even the small ones. The more favourable attention he gets for the desired behaviour, the more likely he is to do it again. Then, set your little one up for success. Be aware of situations that tend to end in a tantrum, and plan accordingly. If he loses it when his tummy’s rumbling, pack a healthy snack. If he throws a fit when overtired, make naptime a top priority.
Don't try to calm him down
Ignore him unless he is physically endangering himself or others. By taking away your attention completely, you won’t reinforce his undesirable behaviour. Walk out of the room and set a timer for a few minutes to check on him. If your child starts hitting, kicking, biting, or throwing things during a meltdown, stop him immediately and remove him from the situation. Make it clear that hurting others is not acceptable. Take away a privilege and put him in a timeout if necessary. But save time-outs for harmful behaviour. The more you use them, the less effective they become.
Sometimes, give him some space
Sometimes a kid just needs to get his anger out. So let him! Just make sure there's nothing in tantrum's way that could hurt him. This approach helps children learn how to vent in a nondestructive way. They're able to get their feelings out, pull themselves together, and regain self-control -- without engaging in a yelling match or battle of wills with you. This trick can work on its own or in tandem with the whole ignoring bit.
Create a diversion
This is all about a deft mental switch—getting your kid engaged and interested in something else so he forgets about the meltdown he was just having. Distraction can help ward off a major meltdown before it happens if you catch it in time. Children have pretty short attention spans—which means they're usually easy to divert. And it always helps if you sound really excited when you do it. It gets their mind off the meltdown and on to the next thing that much faster.
Laugh it off
Every parent dreads public tantrums, for obvious reasons. You worry other parents will think you're a bad mom. And that you've raised an out-of-control demon child. But that will tempt you to make choices that will only lead to more fits. Kids, even very young ones, are smart. Your best bet is to suck it up, plaster a little Mona Lisa smile on your face, and pretend everything is just fine. If you look calm and like you've got it under control -- yes, even though you're not doing anything to stop the fit—they think, Now that's a good mom.
Reasons for Temper Tantrums
When kids struggle to get a grip on what's going on for them emotionally, they often show their frustration through their behaviour. A child who isn't sure how to deal with uncomfortable emotions like anger, sadness, and disappointment, may throw a fit. Screaming and kicking is their way of saying, “Help me, I’m out of control.”
The other main reason kids have tantrums is because they want to take control of the situation. Their goal is to get their way and hope that screaming will get you to do what they want.
When your child exhibits a colossal meltdown, take a minute to examine the underlying reason. Kids have tantrums for two main reasons—an inability to manage their emotions or an attempt to control the situation.