We’ve all been there, right? In the middle of the store, church, or other random place where you really need your kids to behave and one of them decides to pitch a fit? No? Just me? Okay. Anyway… tantrums are exhausting. If you have a toddler or preschooler at home, chances are you’re dealing with a meltdown at least every now and again. Don’t worry, this is normal, and your kid is just learning how to navigate unknown territory. They’re still learning the ropes. It is our job, as parents, to teach them how to express their emotions in a healthy manner. It’s hard work for kids to learn to control outbursts of anger and disappointment when they do not get their way. Consider the following tips for squashing tantrums and a few key was to avoid them, too!
Tips for Squashing Tantrums
When your child gives you that face that says a tantrum is downloading, it’s time to act! Of course, every child is different, so some of these tactics may not work for everyone. It should go without saying that your approach depends highly on the situation and that your child’s safety and well being are of foremost importance. That said, the key factor is not giving into the tantrum itself. Stay strong parents! Standing your ground is necessary.
- Distraction, distraction, distraction. Often times, if you can distract their attention, you can avert the meltdown. Whether you point their attention in another direction (oh, look at the way those branches move with the wind) or you give them something to do with their hands (here, play with your mermaid bracelet), if you can avert their attention you can avoid the meltdown.
- Read a book together or sing a song about it.
- When possible, remove your child from the present situation. Give them 2 minutes of alone time if necessary.
- Designate a certain spot for your child to let out some emotions. Make this a safe haven for them to cry, shout into a pillow, or whatever else is necessary to safely express some pent up feelings. It’s perfectly ok to let some of that emotion out – in the right place, at the right time.
- Specify a particular stuffed animal or comfort item that is solely used for consoling your child during these meltdowns.
- Get down on their level and look at them face-to-face.
- Keep your cool. It is unrealistic for us to expect our kids to halt their meltdown if we ourselves cannot keep our own emotions in check.
Preparation is Key to Avoiding Meltdowns
In addition to the above tips of addressing tantrums in the moment, parents can help avoid these meltdowns altogether by preparing your kid(s) ahead of time. For example:
- Give them a pep talk before going into a store or having company come for a visit. Explicitly tell them your expectations concerning their behavior, and lay out the consequences if they are unable to act reasonably.
- Predict the scenarios that have a reputation for sparking a tantrum, and do your best to give your kids ample heads up (ex: checkout lines, dinner menu, multiple bedtime warnings etc.).
Parenting is tough, y’all. It is by far the most challenging, but most rewarding job, that I’ve ever been given. One of my least favorite things to encounter is a tantrum, but if I calmly remind myself that my kids are still in the process of learning, it helps me to maintain my composure so that I can gracefully and productively help them through it.The key is to discipline for what would be bad adult behavior, not punish for being kids.
Let’s face it, some days are just hard! There are days when it takes every ounce in my being not to REACT to a tantrum. I won’t tell you how many times I’ve read chapter 6 (Making Changes) and chapter 7 (Joy) of Mama Needs a Do-Over, but suffice it to say it’s more than once. I’ve also done the short devotional on YouVersion a few times. LOL.
Mama Needs a Do-Over: Simple Steps to Turning a Hard Day Around
If you still need help, invest in one of these. They are worth their ISBN in gold!
Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child’s Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 DaysTemper Your Child’s Tantrums: How Firm, Loving Discipline Will Lead to a More Peaceful HomeTurning Tantrums Into Triumphs: Step-By-Step Guide To Stopping Toddler Tantrums