Tantrums are a normal part of a child’s emotional development and are typically triggered by frustration, anger, or the inability to communicate effectively. Though they are a natural part of growing up, they can create problems for parents, like disrupting routines or creating emotional stress or embarrassment in public settings.
However, parents can learn to understand the reasons behind their child’s tantrums and handle them more effectively. By recognizing their triggers and responding in a calm, supportive manner, you can help your child develop the emotional regulation skills necessary for success in school and beyond.
Here, we explore some of the key tips and strategies Trillium School suggests for managing your child’s tantrums.
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Strategies for Dealing with Tantrums
Tantrums are a normal part of child development but can be difficult for parents to manage. Discover practical strategies for managing your child’s tantrums, including setting boundaries and creating a supportive, calming environment. Learn how to help your child regulate their emotions and thrive at daycare and beyond.
1. Understand the Root Causes of Tantrums
In order to control your child’s tantrums, you first need to understand their root causes. Pay attention to your child’s behaviour and identify the triggers that lead to their outbursts. Two of the most common reasons are tiredness and hunger. In that case, you need to plan ahead to ensure that they get enough rest and have healthy foods available.
Another common trigger is the inability to communicate effectively. Young children often struggle to express their feelings and needs, which can lead to frustration and tantrums. In that case, encourage them to express themselves and listen actively. You can use visual aids like pictures or gestures to help your child communicate their needs.
For instance, you can create a picture chart with different food options or activities and ask your child to point to what they want. This helps them feel empowered and gives them a sense of control over their environment.
2. Set Clear Boundaries and Consequences
Another useful tactic for controlling tantrums is to clearly define limits and consequences. Children need to understand what is expected of them in terms of behaviour and what will happen if they cross boundaries. This provides a sense of structure and helps them feel secure and in control.
For example, you could mention that it is not acceptable to hit or throw objects and that there will be repercussions for doing so. Keeping punishments consistent will help your child understand what to expect. It is also crucial to reward your child when they obey the rules and fulfil your expectations. This keeps them motivated and proud of their accomplishments and encourages them to continue making good choices.
For instance, you can offer praise when they share their toys or use kind words towards their peers. You can also offer rewards like stickers or extra playtime when they consistently meet expectations for behaviour. This will create a safe, nurturing environment that supports your child’s growth and development.
3. Don’t Lose Your Cool
It is easy to get frustrated or overwhelmed when dealing with a child’s tantrums, but losing your cool can make the situation worse. Children are highly attuned to their parent’s emotions. So, if they sense that you are angry or upset, it can escalate their own emotions and lead to a more intense tantrum.
One way to avoid losing your cool is to practise self-care and stress management techniques. In situations like this, take a few deep breaths, try to remain calm and patient, and focus on finding a solution. Or, if it feels too overwhelming, instead of reacting with anger or punishment, step away from the situation for a few minutes to collect yourself. This way, you can better acknowledge your child’s feelings, understand their perspective, and come up with a plan that everyone can agree on.
4. Implement Distraction Techniques
When your child starts showing signs of a tantrum, distracting them can be an effective way to prevent it from escalating.
For example, if you notice your child getting upset because they can’t have a certain toy, redirect their attention by suggesting they play with a different toy or read a book together.
Sometimes making silly faces or telling a joke can break the tension and help your child calm down. The key is to be creative and find something that they find interesting or enjoyable. By doing so, you can prevent a tantrum and keep the situation from getting out of hand.
5. Tell Them You Love Them
While having a tantrum, children may feel helpless and out of control. A powerful way to express your love and support for your child is to tell them you love them.