If your child throws temper tantrums, you may be at a loss on what to do. As a new parent, I also struggled with my child’s constant tantrums from seemingly random causes. However, with some practice, I learned some of the basic ways to diffuse the situation. It’s difficult to know how to respond to these sudden displays of anger from a child, but they are normal in children. Although violent tantrums may be a sign of something more severe, most are fairly mild and can be dealt with fairly easily.
It’s important to remember that most temper tantrums last only up to two minutes and many are much shorter than that. So, no matter what you do, it will probably be over fairly soon. Even parents who are worried about the temper tantrums that happen should know that they are most severe at the beginning, but eventually die down and then go away in normal cases.
It’s important to recognize what sets off a temper tantrum. In young children, it’s often caused by a change in the routine. A child who is used to getting their milk in a blue cup every morning may have a fit if they get it in a yellow cup on a certain day. They are easily overwhelmed and as a parent, recognizing these signs is a good way to help work through them. Of course, it is unrealistic to expect a tantrum to always be avoided, but a change in the routine or busy places may be too much for children of a very young age. If you know your child is already having a bad day, avoiding changes in their normal routine can help to stave off a tantrum.
The age of your child may change how you deal with these tantrums, but one of the best ways to defuse a tantrum is to acknowledge that the child is frustrated. Look the child in the eye and say that you recognize that he or she is upset about something. Then acknowledge that the situation is unfortunate, but you can’t make any changes. One example is a child who wants a cookie and throws a tantrum as a result of being said no. A parent may say to the child, “I know you want a cookie, but we can’t right now.” This may help to diffuse the situation.
Being silly is a good idea in younger children. You can make a silly song up about the situation or make funny faces to help them realize that the situation really isn’t that serious. Your child may not always appreciate this and it may escalate the situation in some cases. However, it can be a great coping strategy, especially when you’re in public.
Distraction is a tool that may be used effectively to help deal with a tantrum. Children have very short attention spans and will get over a tantrum within a few minutes, but you can speed up the process by showing them something else. If your child is throwing a tantrum at a store, you can distract them by showing them some colorful fruits and vegetables or pointing out something fun in the store. You can distract a child with any number of things including their toys, their surroundings, or something else. This is a major way to minimize a tantrum and is a great way to deal with it when you’re in a public place.
Ignoring a tantrum may not always be possible, but when you’re at home, it can be a good option. Many times, tantrums will escalate because the child realizes that they’re receiving a lot of attention. Your child may think that if they make enough noise, you’ll eventually give up and then give them what they want. By leaving the room, you get rid of this option. In some cases, you may even want to leave the room. Make sure that your child is safe, but even going into the next room can be effective. This lets them work through their own frustration and helps your child develop coping mechanisms.
Your child having a temper tantrum isn’t always easy to deal with, especially when it happens regularly. However, you can use these coping strategies to avoid tantrums from happening as frequently as well as decreasing their duration. The next time your child throws a fit, you can use one or more of these tips to deal with the tantrum effectively.