What are tantrums?
Tantrums are extremely common among children aged 18-36 months but can happen outside of these ages.
They come in all varieties. They can involve spectacular explosions of anger, frustration and behavior displays (when your child ‘loses it’). You might see crying, yelling, stiffening limbs, screaming, kicking, falling down, flailing about or running away. In some cases, children will hold their breath, vomit, get aggressive or break things as part of a tantrum.
What are the causes of tantrums?
- temperament. This can influence how emotional children become when they feel frustrated. Some children just have more tantrums than others
- stress, hunger, tiredness and over stimulation
- situations that children just can’t cope with – for example, when a child takes a toy away.
You’ll see fewer tantrums as your child gets older and learns how to better handle bad feelings . Your child will also get better at communicating his wants and needs using words. But tantrums can go on – even into adulthood – if they become a reliable way for your child to get what he wants.
Here is one way to approach to dealing with tantrums in a low key way.
This approach is suitable for very young children (1-2 years), or for children whose tantrums do not occur very frequently or very severely.
- Reduce stress . Tired, hungry and overstimulated children are more likely to throw tantrums.
- Be aware of how your child is feeling . If you can see a tantrum brewing, step in and try to distract your child with another activity.
- Identify tantrum triggers . Certain situations – shopping, visiting or mealtimes – might frequently involve temper tantrums. Think of ways to make these events easier on your child. For example, you could time the situations so your child isn’t tired, eats before you go out, or doesn’t need to behave for too long.
- When a tantrum occurs, stay calm (or pretend to!). If you get angry, it will make the situation worse and harder for both of you. If you need to speak at all, keep your voice calm and level, and act deliberately and slowly.
- Wait out the tantrum. Ignore the behavior until it stops. Once a temper tantrum is in full swing, it’s too late for reasoning or distraction. Your child won’t be in the mood to listen. You also run the risk of teaching your child that tantrums get your full involvement and attention.
- Make sure there’s no pay-off for the tantrum. If the tantrum occurs because your child doesn’t want to do something (such as get out of the bath), gently insist that she does (pick her up out of the bath). If the tantrum occurs because your child wants something, don’t give her what she wants.
- Be consistent and calm in your approach. If you sometimes give your child what he wants when he tantrums and sometimes don’t, the problem could become worse.
- Reward good behavior . Enthusiastically praise when she manages frustration well.
The approach of proactive prevention with children i.e. encouraging the right behaviors as they occur will help reduce the occurrence of the negative behaviors. Each time your child shows positive behaviors be sure to give them specific positive feedback. it builds their confidence and self esteem and equips them to better handle situations in future.
Child Care Centre Gympie – Parkside Early Learning Centre