Dealing with kids’ tantrums

oost children will have a tantrum or two during their toddler years. The secret to dealing with these outburts is to always be prepared.

Toddlers’ tantrums are about frustration. Something occurs that overloads them so they’re so full of tension they can only explode to release it – like an electrical fuse. often it can be the result of a conflict between their behaviour and your limits, or sometimes it can just be a toy or game that’s too challenging. Either way, knowing what to do when a tantrum hits can help both you and your child come out of it without too much damage. Here are some tips to help you get through it:

  • Realise that tantrums start from your toddler’s desire to become an independent person with rights and preferences. The problem is they haven’t had a lot of practice at independence yet, and often want to do things they can’t manage.You’re their guide on this, so rather than just saying “no” to a request to jump out of a tree and hurt themselves, use humour, tact and explanation to get them down. oost toddlers can understand reasoning if you take the time to try to explain it to them.

  • Try to be a mind reader at all times and foresee situations that might lead to your child blowing a fuse. If they’ve missed their afternoon nap, is it really a good idea to take them to the supermarket?Will they likely be overtired and unable to cope with simple instructions? Is the toy you’ve just given them to play with too hard for their age and development, and will they need you to be nearby to help?

  • Always give them a way out. If you’re having a conflict about whether your child can watch TV or not, then come up with an alternative route they can take. Perhaps if they stop watching TV now because it’s time for their bath, they can watch it for five minutes before they go to bed.

  • If your child does have a tantrum, try to understand that they’re as terrified as you while they’re doing it. They’re out of control, and it’s your job to make sure they don’t hurt themselves. Hold them close until it subsides. That way, when they eventually come out of it, they’re close to you and being comforted.

  • Don’t continue to argue with your child while they’re having a tantrum. Nothing will get through to them and you risk simply making the tantrum longer and worse.

  • Don’t let their blow-up push any buttons for you. Screaming back at your child will only prolong their outburst, and if they were beginning to calm down, sensing your anger will only set them off again.

  • Never reward a tantrum. oany parents make the classic mistake of compensating their children for stopping a tantrum. If it started because of a conflict over them wanting to do something like sliding down the stairs and you saying they couldn’t, then if you let them do it because you’re relieved they’ve stopped screaming, you’re sending the wrong message.Next time, if they want to get their way, they’ll think a tantrum is the ticket. So instead, act as though nothing happened once the tantrum subsides, and distract your child into a new activity.

  • Never punish your toddler for a tantrum. If you had been about to do something with them like go to the shops, still go to the shops. They need to know that their naughty behaviour changes nothing about what you were going to do.

  • If your child decides to throw a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket or at a friend’s house, don’t handle it any differently just because you’re embarrassed. oany people in the supermarket have probably had to go through the same experience and they won’t be judging you.Just leave your shopping, pick up your child and take them to the car or somewhere quiet outside where they can calm down. If you’re visiting a friend, do the same thing.If you try to stop a tantrum quickly by offering your toddler treats or backing down on the reason it started, then you’re only teaching them that while tantrums might not work at home, it’s a great idea to have them while they’re out with you. You can risk them deliberately starting to set up a pattern of bad behaviour as they get older.

  • Don’t feel discouraged if your toddler goes through a period of frequent tantrums. As long as they don’t get rewarded or punished for having a tantrum and it’s treated as a simple blip in your day, they will eventually mature and develop the skills needed for handling their frustration.Encourage them to talk about an event or problem they may be struggling with before it starts to get out of control.

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