A temper tantrum is a manifestation of the child’s frustration with the physical, mental or emotional challenges of the moment. Children may show it through crying, screaming, hitting or even breath holding. It is a normal and expected response when something hampers the child’s attempt to gain independence. They typically appear at age two or three, and it starts to decline by the time the child reaches four years old.
As parents, we don’t usually examine what provokes our child to be in that emotional state. Sometimes we get too caught up with the outburst that, we tend to act impulsively and end up not being helpful at all. We forget that as young children, they want to be understood. They easily get frustrated because they find it hard to express themselves. The fact is, it is a difficult time for both parents and child. But there are ways to deal with it, here’s a list:
1. Ignore the behavior. Tantrums usually last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and attempts to stop it usually make it worse. Giving in to their demands will only make your child think that tantrums are effective.
2. Communicate with the child. Acknowledge his feelings of frustration and anger, that way you can evaluate what triggered the tantrum. Offer help to solve the problem.
3. Positively distract the child. Before the tantrum starts, try getting the child focused on a different activity.
4. Reassure the child after the outburst. They need to feel that they are still loved regardless of what happened.
5. Set a good example by handling frustration calmly. Children often learn by watching their parents.
6. Establish a routine. Children usually have problems with transition from one activity to the next.. It’s important to set reasonable limits and follow them consistently as well.
7. Promote safety at all times. Our utmost concern is that they don’t hurt themselves during the tantrum.
8. Use time-outs for children older than three years old. This will remove the child from the situation thereby allowing him time to calm down. A time-out works best for children who can understand why it is being used.
We as parents have nothing, but the best intentions for our children. And as they go through varying stages of development, they need us to show them the way. There may be difficult times, but it is important for them to feel that amidst the trials, they are loved.