No matter how hard parents may try to offer a patient, caring attitude when handling toddler behavior, some children are more prone to acting out.
Temper tantrums are a staple of toddler hood and more often than not, they escalate into full-blown meltdowns.
Fortunately, there are many ways to not only avoid tantrums, but to deal with them effectively.
Knowing a few tried-and-true methods will help both parents and kids adjust accordingly when a meltdown is near.
The first step in understanding temper tantrums is why they occur in the first place.
Tantrums are common in both boys and girls between the ages of 1 and 3.
Although frustrating, meltdowns are a normal part of development.
They serve as a way of venting anger, especially since toddlers have little control over their actions and feelings.
The added difficulty of not being able to communicate makes toddlers more tantrum-prone.
Furthermore, toddlers are challenging the world around them and pushing their independence.
This creates power struggles between children and adults; another element that leads to meltdowns.
It can be difficult for toddlers to recognize that they can’t have everything their way.
Of course, it’s not realistic to give in to a child’s every desire.
Anticipate tantrums by looking for the warning signs such as whimpering, whining or tension.
When these behaviors begin to surface, take action by distracting and redirecting the toddler.
For example, if the child becomes frustrated when building with blocks, distract him or her by pointing out a new activity.
Instead of building a tower let’s say, offer to paint with the toddler.
Although these tactics don’t always offer an immediate solution, they are worth a try.
Another effective method for avoiding the onset of a tantrum is to identify with the child’s feelings.
When a toddler feels understood, he or she is less likely to act out.
Use simple words and express how the child may be feeling.
Try something like, “I see that you are mad that your block tower fell down.
Let’s try to build one together.”
Also use a calming, matter-of-fact tone that will reassure the toddler.
Sometimes, tantrums are imminent no matter how hard an adult may try.
To make matters worse, they often occur in situations where the child is over-stimulated, tired or hungry.
The first defense is to ignore the behavior. This means no eye contact, no words and no reactions.
Make sure that the child is in a safe area and if not, move him or her to an area that is, with no sharp objects or glass.
If out in public, remove the child from the situation and show that the behavior will not be tolerated.
When the toddler sees that his or her outbursts aren’t getting attention, they will soon stop or decrease.
Be sure to remain calm during the tantrum, as yelling or screaming only worsens the behavior.
Once children expand their language skills, generally around the age of 3, tantrums become a thing of the past.
Tips To Dealing With Kids’ Tantrums
Being a parent, there are several things that you will experience as you deal with growing kids.
Among the many things that you will need to deal with a growing a child are tantrums.
When your kids reach the toddler stage, throwing tantrums are only natural for them.
Although it can be annoying, there are ways in which you can deal with it to ease the stress.
As your toddler start to throw a tantrum, you may have sudden impulses on how to handle the situation.
However, most of these impulses will not yield positive results.
Here are seven ways on how to deal with tantrums from your kids:
Keep your cool at all times. Even if you’re about to explode, always keep your cool in front of your kid.
This is all a part of your child growing up experience, and is only natural.
Try to be patient, disciplined and practice self restraint.
You want to teach these positive values to your kid. If you react with anger to your kid while they’re having a tantrum, you’re only teaching them violence.
They will see violence as the right way to handle problems or other issues.
Never give in to their request.
Toddlers often throw temper tantrums when they want something, but couldn’t have it.
If you give in to their request or try to bribe them to calm down by giving what they want, you are opening the possibility of your toddler throwing more tantrums in the future.
Never give in to what they want and show them that they will not get it if they act this way.
Ignore public opinions. What if your child throws a tantrum while you’re in the mall because you won’t buy them that toy?
If this happens, most parents concern themselves about what others people may think and will try to give in to calm the child down.
However, if you really want to be a responsible parent, ignore what other people may think, most parents who have undergone the same situation will even show sympathy to your cause.
Avoid reasoning with them.
Toddlers throw tantrums in order to get your attention. When this happens, don’t try to negotiate or reason with your kid.
They won’t listen to you anyway, so it is best just to ignore the tantrums.
This will show your kids that throwing a tantrum is not the way that you communicate with another person.
Let them play it out. When you’re angry, you have a lot of steam built up inside that you will need to let out.
The same goes for your kids, if they have a tantrum, they need to have an outlet to express what they feel. Let them scream, yell and cry in another room.
However, explain to them why you are putting them in another room and that you will not support their behavior.
Let them play out what they feel in another room and leave them. Only return after the screaming, yelling and the crying have completely ceased.
Give them a hug.
Hugs can be a reassuring gesture which also shows love and comfort.
When your kids are throwing a tantrum and you want to keep them from getting hurt, give them a firm yet gentle hug.
Although kids would not want to be held down when they’re having tantrums, hugging your kid will eventually calm them down. It can assure them that you care and that you love them.
Never compromise even after the tantrum has ceased.
After the tantrum stops, don’t give them what they wanted.
Instead give them an alternative to what they wanted.
If you reward them after they have stopped with the thing they wanted, this can create confusion in your kid.
They may think that they can still get what they want, even if took longer.
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Today we’re going to talk about temper tantrums.
Now there’s a number of reasons children have temper tantrums:
First, they’re very developmentally normal for children up to three years of age.
And young children at that time, they’re going to have a temper tantrum from an urgent need that is not met or when they’re tired, hungry bored, or frustrated.
Older children over the age of three have temper tantrums for different reasons.
Generally they have them because they have been given into, they’ve had a tantrum earlier in their life and it’s worked for them so they continued that skill as a strategy of getting their way.
They have one for unrealistic expectations of parents, inappropriate discipline that’s a little bit too punitive or too permissive and also when they are fatigued they will do that, and the last one is when they’ve had too much stress in their life.
Those of you who have had children, maybe one or more children, you might say,
“Well how come one child has more temper tantrums than another?”
Well this is based on a number of things:
First, it is based on the temperament of the child. Some kids are just born easy temperament, they’re easy to regulate, they go to sleep well, they eat well, they’re just very easy children.
Other children are born with a very difficult temperament, it’s hard to soothe them, they’re finicky eaters, they’re finicky sleepers, when they get upset they can’t calm as easily as other children, and the last one again a stressors. Inconsistent routines, inappropriate discipline, unrealistic expectations, divorce, child-care, death in the family, depression.
All these things will affect the amount, number and intensity of tantrums that children will have. So how best can we respond to temper tantrums? The first thing I want you to hear and I want you to hear it very, very clearly is there’s no right way to do it.
Different things will be appropriate for different children.
But in general, these are some strategies that will be helpful:
The first thing to understand is temper tantrums are a non-verbal communication.
We all recognize them.
The face is red, they’re wailing, the arms are going, they’re holding their breath, they’re screaming.
We recognize a temper tantrum.
So what are they trying to say?
Generally they’re going to say “I’m overwhelmed.
I can’t handle this.”
The second one is “I’m trying a strategy that worked last time and I’m wondering if it’s gonna work this time ’cause you gave in last time so all I got to do is scream and shout, long enough, hard enough, and ultimately I’m going to get what I want.”
So one its developmental I’m overwhelmed, and two you’ve taught the child to have these tantrums.
So we respond to these almost in similar ways:
The first thing to do is to unhook ourselves.
So again we’re going to be a S.T.A.R., we’re not going to get triggered, we’re going to take a deep breath and we’re going to calm ourselves.
Sometimes just calming ourselves puts some calming energy around the child.
The second thing we’re going to do is it we’re going to offer empathy and we’re going to start with the body.
Your arms are going like this, your face is like this, your body’s telling me I feel so frustrated.
So I’m going to say those words again so you can get them:
Your arms are going like this, your face is all scrunched up, your body is telling me I really wanted to watch this or I am so tired, whatever your best guess is.
And from that situation then, you’re going to actually just leave the child alone if that seems what would be best for them or you going to pick the child up, put them to your body and say nothing but breathe at first and then you’re going to say
“You’re safe, you can handle this, I’ve got you.
You’re safe, you can handle this, I’ve got you.” Once the temper tantrum is over, whatever the original trigger was, the child does not get out of anything.
If they threw a fit about taking their fork to the sink, once the temper tantrum is over, give them a choice, “You can carry the fork over in this hand or you can carry the fork in this hand to the sink.
Which is best with you?”
If it was about wearing blue pants as opposed to green pants, once it’s over there gonna put the green pants on, just give them a choice,
“Do you want to put them on when sitting on the floor, or would it be easier to stand up and put your pants on?”
The temper tantrum does not allow a child to get out doing something.
So why not just let the child flop around on the floor like a fish outta water and ignore quote the bad behavior?
We want to offer empathy, we want to offer breathing because it’s gonna help the child learn how to get from the lower centers of their brain to the higher centers of their brain and we’re providing that methodology, and internalize it in the child that they can use the rest of their life.
So here’s your homework:
When you see a child in a grocery store and it’s not even yours, here’s what you can practice, just breathe and wish that child well in that family.
Put some calmness into the energy as opposed to “What the heck are they doing?” Add your calmness to the situation.
If it’s your own child, unhook, do not take it personally, take some breath add some calmness to the chaos with your own energetic being.
Say to the child, “Oh, your hands, your feet are going like this, your face looks like this, your body’s telling me this was just, I’m just so tired and so hungry.”
And then depending on the temperament of the child you’re either going to leave them alone, give them some space, or you’re going to scoop them up and put them on your chest, relax and say,
“You’re safe, you’re safe, I’ve got you, you can handle this.”
And then once the temper tantrum is over they’re gonna go back and complete the task that triggered them to begin with.
Until next time I wish you well..
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