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Getting Through Temper Tantrums

Every parent has been there!! You're in the checkout line, a restaurant, a waiting room and the moment you dread happens! Your toddler throws a floor-thumping, high-screeching, hair-pulling temper tantrum.

It can be embarrassing, disconcerting and sudden … and the worst temper tantrum of all is a public one. As embarrassing as this behavior is, it is normal behavior for young children.

Some parents may be tempted to give in to the child just to make it stop. This is not a good practice because kids will use tantrums to get whatever they want.

Preventing Tantrums

Tantrums can be prevented before they begin. Sometimes kids give warning signals at the onset of a tantrum. Here are some prevention tips to help avert the tantrum:

    • Be sure your child is fed and rested
    • Give your child control over small things by offering them a choice.
    • Sit your child down in a quiet place. Bend down to their eye level and speak softly to them.
    • Distract your child and redirect their attention to something else like toys, a story, a puppy passing by, etc.
    • Use a sense of humor to distract your child - act silly!
    • Keep off-limits objects out of sight
    • Change the environment
    • Teach your child to express emotions and feelings with words.
    • Stick to a daily routine ensuring your child rest and activity.
    • Praise your child when they request something without having a tantrum.

Dealing With Public Temper Tantrums

When you’re out in public:

    • Stay calm. Just because your child loses control doesn’t mean you have to.
      Act calm and controlled.
    • Bend down to your child’s eye level and explain that their behavior is not acceptable. Put your child in a "time out" or in a quiet place (even in their stroller) where they can calm down. The time out should be one minute for each year of the child's age.
    • Hug or hold your younger child until the tantrum lessens.
    • When an older child throws a tantrum they probably want attention. Ignore them until the tantrum is over.

After The Tantrum

Luckily temper tantrums don't last forever. As kids grow and mature, they grow out of temper tantrums. Until they do, when the tantrum is over, talk about it with your child. By helping them understand and talk about their feelings, you are teaching them to express their feelings with words … not tantrums. Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for getting through the ordeal and remaining calm. You're creating great behavior model for your child.

 

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