Temper tantrums are part of growing up. Some kids will try to use them more than other kids. It usually depends on how effective they are for the child, but some children just throw the fits over and over hoping that someday it will work for them. Here are some tips for dealing with, managing and minimizing the tantrums.
First, and I think most important, never give in to a temper tantrum. This will just teach the child that throwing a fit is the easiest way to get what they want and thus lead to more tantrums and worse tantrums when you try later to not give in.
Use statements instead of questions when you want your child to do something you think, or know, will cause your child to be upset. Tell your child “It’s time to go to bed” instead of “Are you ready for bed?”
Give your child 5 minute advanced notice and keep them updated as each minute goes by. For example “Jane we are going to leave in 5 minutes”, one minute later “Jane we are going to leave in 4 minutes”, another minute later “Jane we have 3 minutes until we leave”. This will help your child get ready to leave and know that they really can not stay any longer and may minimize the possibility for a temper tantrum.
Explain why you need your child to do something that you ask. Tell them they need to put their plate in the sink so you can wash it so they can use it next time.
Help your child with some things you ask that they may perceive as too much to do, such as cleaning their room or putting toys away that they were playing with at a friend’s house. If you’re helping them they are less likely to throw a fit about having to do it.
Give choices, compromises and rewards. Tell your child that they can either do something they want to do if they do what you want them to do or they can not do what you want them to do and not get to do something they want to do. This method works the best at my house. I will tell my daughter to clean her room so that we can go blow bubbles or paint and she will usually clean her room. Sometimes I even tell her to clean her room so we can find the bubbles that are hiding somewhere in her messy room and then we can go outside and play with the bubbles. Then while she is cleaning the room, when we get almost all done I will excuse myself by telling her I have to go potty and when I leave the room I will go get the bubbles and then come back to her room and put them under something I am about to pick up to help her clean her room or something she still needs to pick up and that way we “find” the bubbles and are then able to go outside and play with them.
If your child does start to throw a temper tantrum, try to ignore it. Walk into another room, or simply walk away. Children usually throw these fits to get what they want, if you are not there to listen and see them throwing the fit then you are not going to give them what they want and they realize this and will stop throwing the fit. However, they may follow you into the next room to throw the fit, just keep ignoring them and walking away while they are throwing the fit. Explain to them that you are not going to listen to them while they are throwing a fit. Or tell them you can not understand what they want because they are crying and throwing a fit. Tell them to calm down, stop crying, and calmly tell you what they want. This works best for us with our daughter, when she thinks we can’t understand her she does stop throwing a fit so that she can make herself speak clearer for us to understand what she’s asking or wanting.
If your child’s temper tantrums include some sort of violent behavior such as hitting, kicking, biting, or throwing items you will need to stop them and use some sort of punishment that is effective for your child such as a time out or taking away their favorite toy. Violent behavior should never be ignored or allowed.
For more information and tips on temper tantrums visit Everyday Health.