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Handling Tantrums of Children

Tantrums are never fun for you or your child, and knowing how to handle them correctly can seem overwhelming, especially for new parents. Young children especially can have a hard time processing their surroundings and emotions since their brain development is only beginning to grow and flourish. Being unable to communicate their feelings and emotions can lead to a tantrum, which can escalate quickly if not handled correctly. Here are five ways you can successfully handle your child’s tantrum quickly and easily without feeling overwhelmed.

  1. Stay Calm

Young children mimic your behaviors, so you must stay calm when they begin to throw a tantrum. It’s easy to get frustrated and yell or lash out when tantrums arise because you feel powerless or embarrassed. Before you react, take a deep breath and remind yourself why your child is throwing a tantrum in the first place. They cannot communicate how they feel or what they want you to understand, and frustration surfaces through crying, screaming, or acting out. When you remain calm, it helps you think clearly and emanates calming energy to your child. They are more likely to match your behavior which will help you both understand the root problem and find a peaceful solution.

  1. Set Boundaries

For tantrums involving physical violence like hitting, biting, kicking, or screaming, it’s important to set boundaries and teach your child that behavior is unacceptable. You can say something like, “There is no hitting; we do not hurt other people.” You may not see a change immediately, but over time as you continue to stick to your boundaries, your child will develop the ability to control themselves. Setting boundaries is effective for multiple situations. You can tell them, “We do not scream when we don’t get our way,” or “It is not ok to throw a tantrum when I tell you, no.” Stay consistent, and you will see a positive change in your child’s behavior.

  1. Remove Them From The Situation

There are times when it’s best to remove your child during a tantrum. If you’re in a public area like a concert or place of worship, they can distract others, making the situation worse. When you move to a different location, it can serve a twofold purpose: distraction and discipline. We’ve already discussed why distraction is helpful but discipline, even in young children, is essential. You are showing them that their actions have consequences and when they misbehave, they are disciplined. You can use the time together, away from everyone else, to explain to them in an age-appropriate way that it’s not ok to throw tantrums and that once they calm down, they can rejoin everyone else. It’s important to praise them once they are calm and assure them that you are proud that they decided to behave correctly. 

  1. Hold Them

Reassurance is vital for children, so even when they’re throwing tantrums holding and loving them gives them a sense of security and unconditional love. When you hold your child, it creates a calming effect that goes a long way in soothing tantrums and calming them down.

  1. Redirect Their Attention

Young children have a short attention span, which makes distraction an excellent tool for handling tantrums. Consider keeping a sensory bag for babies or a favorite toy in your diaper bag. When a tantrum begins, you can present your child with the toy, which may redirect their attention long enough to stop the behavior. You can also try singing, pointing out an interesting object, dancing, or making silly gestures. Many times the simple act of introducing something new into the situation is enough to make little ones forget why they were upset, to begin with.

Tantrums are never fun to deal with, but they don’t have to leave you feeling powerless and out of control. By staying calm, setting boundaries, removing the child when necessary, holding them, and redirecting their attention, you can help ease the tantrum and handle the situation in a beneficial way to both you and your child.