A question I get asked a lot is: what do I do when my child is having a temper tantrum? This is a tricky question to answer; we all have different values and beliefs. So, let me say this, do whatever method suits your values and beliefs.
There are so many different types of temper tantrums children experiences. The important thing to know is that they are a 100% normal part of a child’s growth and development, and you have the power to survive them.
What are some methods in dealing with tantrums?
These are a few methods that you can use when experiencing tantrums with your child:
- Go to the child and pick them up and talk to them until they are calm
- Give into the tantrum and give them whatever it is they want
- Allow the child to have the tantrum and ignore them
- Take the child away from the situation and go home (if you are not at home)
- Tell the child during the tantrum that you see he/ she is angry and that when they are not angry that you will talk to him/ her
- Sit or be in proximity to the child during the tantrum and wait (say nothing)
- Tell the child to stop
- Put the child in his/ her room
It is extremely important to talk to your child once they are calm.
In order for them to recognize their emotions, you must label them for them: “I see that you are angry/ frustrated because _____.” And then wait. If your child is a toddler and has limited vocabulary, then just label their emotions.
Follow up by telling the child that it is okay to have these feelings. Explain that if or when they are angry, encourage them to use their words. Tell them that they are allowed to tell others (even adults) that they are mad or angry at them. A lot of the time child feel inferior to adults, and they think that if they tell us they are mad or angry with us we will yell at them, send them to their rooms, or not love them.
I have told my 4 year old this since he was born; now he will tell me “Mom, I am so frustrated with you,” and then we talk about why he is frustrated. This has allowed us to bond, and most importantly, allowed for him to understand and recognize his own feelings.
We must guide children by teaching them how to regulate their emotions in a constructive and positive manner right from day one. Children are told over 100 times a day (approximately 45% of the time) “no,” “don’t,” “stop.” We have to get out of this habit and teach them to it is okay to be angry rather than simply say “no,” “don’t,” and “stop.“
Use different phrases such as “Please walk in the store, you can run when we get to the sidewalk,” or “Look with your eyes, not with your hands, if you want to touch _____, please ask me first.” This is a very hard task to master; remember that it takes approximately 21 days to stop bad habits.
By starting with more positive ways in handling children’s personalities, it will diminish the temper tantrums.
Amy, having earned a Bachelors Degree in Child Development, has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for the past 10 years. First working in an infant classroom, and then moving to JK, preschool and toddlers. Currently Amy works as a Supervisor of a childcare facility in York Region.