Nobody likes having to deal with your child having a tantrum. You don’t like it, the rest of the family doesn’t like it – the people at the store don’t like it. While it certainly isn’t fun to witness, it is even more distressing to have to be the one to deal with the situation.
While you can’t always control how your kids will behave and react to different situations, there are effective methods you can use to keep tantrums to a minimum. As a behavioral therapist, I’d love to offer you some of the simple ways to address and even prevent your child from having tantrums.
If you let your emotions get the better of you, then you could end up making the situation worse. Staying calm and keeping your emotions under control is one of the best ways to help diffuse a tantrum so it doesn’t get out of hand. So take some deep breaths and get down at their level to show them you want to understand and see them through their difficult emotions.
However, it’s important to refrain from speaking too much or expecting your child to answer questions. When children, especially young children in their toddler years, are upset it becomes difficult for them to process the information they hear. Telling your child the expectation or even asking them about their feelings during an intense physical & emotional time for them can actually add to their frustration. It’s best to wait until your child starts to calm down. Once they do, it’s most effective to use shortly-worded directions to help them transition out of the situation that caused them to escalate.
As parents, there are many strategies you can use to raise a happy child and help prevent them from having meltdowns. As part of your daily routine, making sure your child has had enough sleep and eaten well creates the best conditions for them to thrive that day. Not only will this help them perform better at school and in life, ensuring that they are well-rested & well-fed helps reduce anxiety caused by a fatigued nervous system.
Setting expectations ahead of time allows your child to process what a situation will be like. This helps them understand what to anticipate and regulate their behavior. It also serves to decrease any anxiety or confusion that could no doubt lead to a tantrum.
Learning not to give in to your child’s demands
If you make it a habit to give in to your child’s demands when they are having a tantrum, then they, unfortunately, learn that all they need to do is throw a tantrum to get what they want. As mentioned, it helps to let a child know in advance what you expect of them in different situations. Being able to remind them of those expectations, as well as any necessary consequences, can help prevent you from reinforcing their challenging behaviors. So make sure you stick to your word and communicate expectations so they will learn that they can’t manipulate you whenever they want something.
A lot of the time, reinforcing your child’s positive behavior can stop them from throwing tantrums in the long run. This infographic is an excellent resource for helping you figure out what you can do on a daily basis to keep your child’s tantrums to a minimum.
credit to Regis College