Children are adorable when they’re in a great mood, but can be equally as terrible when they start to throw temper tantrums.
Not many parents are equipped to handle children throwing a fit, especially when there’s nothing we can do to get them to stop.
Because of this, we may feel like we’re constantly walking on eggshells when dealing with our child. Hoping we don’t cause one more meltdown and knowing how frustrating and stressful that is for both us and our child.
Though it might take a few years to get through this phase, it’s important to know that temper tantrums are pretty common for children ages 1-3. It’s a normal part of development and can get better as children age and learn how to manage their feelings on their own.
If you’re still figuring out how to act when temper tantrums occur, here’s a few helpful ways to tame your child’s temper tantrums the moment they happen.
Avoid reasoning at the height of your child’s tantrums
Reasoning can be helpful in cases when kids are able to think rationally. It’s not useful, and can often heighten emotions even further, once a tantrum starts.
When a temper tantrum starts to take over, it’s best to just take a step back and let them get on with it. All that crying and outburst is the main tool they have for handling their emotions at that point and no amount of reasoning can make it stop.
Provide choices or distractions
If asking your child to do something causes them to get a bit over dramatic, presenting them with simple choices may defuse things. This redirects their attention to the task of deciding what to do first, rather than the feeling of being pressured into doing something they don’t like.
How this works is that you engage your child’s thinking brain before the emotional brain takes over, reducing chances of eventual disagreements and meltdowns.
Another way to tap into your kids’ logical brain is by using distractions. Distractions pique a child’s curiosity and can divert their attention from something they insist on having to the shiny new thing you are showing.
How do you address a situation where your child wants a toy that’s no longer available in the store? One way to minimize frustration is by bringing their attention to a new toy. Yes, a new one. It may not be the same but if it’s interesting enough to let them forget the one they originally wanted, you will have averted a tantrum.
Hugs and positivity help
Hugs give off a feel-good brain chemical called oxytocin which can help regulate a child’s emotions and get them to feel more at ease and calm. While doing this, it’s important that you also stay calm. At the same time, stay firm and avoid giving in to their demands.
Positive words of empathy and can help soothe a child who’s undergoing temper tantrums. Sometimes all a child wants is to be heard and understood. Doing this gives more benefits than what it seems on the surface.
Words such as “I know how you feel” and “you must feel very upset” and “I’m sorry you feel hurt” can make a child feel safe while also appealing to their emotional brain. Practicing empathy and being understanding of how your child feels can help teach them how to regulate their own emotions.
Steer clear of punishment
Punishment may be a logical step to make a kid stop acting up but there’s no point in punishment when there’s nothing teachable about the situation. Temper tantrums are emotion-driven and can occur as a result of a child’s unresolved emotions or difficulty in expressing how they feel.
Tantrums come as a result of emotional pain. Applying timeouts or physical punishment can do nothing to alleviate that. It can even add to the pain your child already feels inside and this will likely prevent them from trusting you with their emotions.
Kids who fear expressing their feelings because of the consequences they may face can have issues when they are faced with bigger problems later in life.
By not being able to regulate their emotions, kids can either end up having anger outbursts or lack of confidence in asserting themselves in certain situations.
Promote empathy and expression by adding to their emotional vocabulary
After a temper tantrum has passed and your child feels settled, sit down with them to process what just happened and what they could have done in the situation.
You can tell them how you felt and what happens to people around them when they throw a tantrum. This is also the best time to reason with their rational brain and even teach empathy and how to handle such emotions when they happen again.
Words can help calm emotions down when expressed properly. Teaching your children vocabulary to express their emotions offers a more effective way of dealing with these strong emotions. It can help them express how they feel in words rather than resort to fits of anger.
Start by teaching them how to identify different emotions. Ask them to use “I feel…” statements where they calmly describe their feelings and emotions in words. This way, your child can identify the emotion, think about why they feel that way, and what they can do to deal with it.
Need more helpful tips for parenting? Feel free to visit our blog. And if you’re looking for a quality childcare provider in Tampa, Florida, Creative Learning Academy is a fun and engaging daycare center that offers the finest facilities for planned activities and extensive school-age before and after school programs. Contact us to meet our staff and take a tour of our facility. We look forward to meeting you and your children!