We’ve all seen that face, the beet-red face of a youngster losing their cool and screaming and crying (and sometimes throwing themselves on the floor and kicking), all for the sake of a temper tantrum. Those outbursts, often happening at the most inopportune times (such as the checkout line at the store), can be overwhelming and make you feel helpless. Sometimes, no matter what, you just cannot calm your child down. Sidebar: for those of you who do not have kids or have never worked with them, keep your dirty looks to yourself. Just because the kid is throwing a tantrum (most likely in a public place) does not mean their parent deserves harsh glances and remarks from the likes of you. Yes, you. Until you have a screaming child kicking at your feet, move along.
Here are a few tips on how to handle your child’s temper tantrums, all while keeping yourself from joining right in with them.
1. Keep your cool. Getting angry and yelling will more than likely only amplify the situation. Talk to them calmly and acknowledge their emotion. Kids are all about instant gratification, which is a rare occurrence, so bring to their attention that you understand their feelings. More times than not, and no this is not a sure-fire cure, it will help subdue the tantrum.
2. Ignore it. It sounds harsh, but sometimes bringing attention to their bad behavior only makes them want to do it more. If they know that throwing a fit will get them attention, they’ll do it often. Analyze the situation first; if you know they’re throwing a fit over nothing, wait until they calm down to speak to them. Sometimes they just need to work it out. Sometimes kids are lacking attention, so they seek it negatively. If tantrums are a frequent thing at your house, look at what is going on at the moment. Have you been working late and not seeing them much? Things like that can really affect a kid. Spend one-on-one time with them and their behavior may just improve. Walk away if you need to.
3. Designate a “tantrum place,” a place where your child can go to throw their fit in peace. Obviously, this only works at home.
4. Make a “relax bottle”—a bottle with a glue/water/food coloring/glitter mixture. Shake the bottle up and have the child watch as the glitter settles in the bottle; it will help calm them down. This would be a great tool to have with you in public. You can find directions for it here.
5. Whatever you do, do not reward them. Sometimes a tantrum can wear you down to the point that you will do anything to get it to stop, but stand strong! Stay away from briberies; that’s just teaching them that they will get rewarded for their bad behavior.
Ear plugs. Okay, just kidding.
These are pretty simple and common sense tips, but in the heat of the moment, we are quick to anger and can sometimes lose our cool. Kids of all ages should be given the chance to vent, but talk to them about their behavior when the mood has calmed down. Toddlers especially have a hard time communicating, so they are quick to throw a fit. Acknowledging their emotions and speaking to them calmly is a great plan of attack. Or, if all else fails, just start crying and throwing a fit of your own. It’ll stop them in their tracks and show them just how silly they’re being. No? Okay, just kidding.Google+