Tantrums can be a parent’s worst nightmare, although they’re to be expected, and are a totally normal part of your child’s development.
Why do children have tantrums you ask? The simple answer is that between the ages of 1 and 4, children haven’t yet developed the proper coping skills.This means that being told they can’t get what they want, or they simply if they can’t communicate well enough to tell you what they want, this leads to frustration that can come in the form of a tantrum.
It can be tough to keep yourself from falling apart too when one occurs, and embarrassment can mean that these strops are not always dealt with in the best way. We’ve scoured the web for the best ways to deal with tantrums, here’s some of our top tips!
- Safety - First things first you will need to make sure your child is safe during their tantrum, so removing anything they could hurt themselves on, or if necessary holding them still will help to prevent any injury.
- What’s the Tantrum About? - A tantrum can be triggered by a certain number of different instances, all culminating with the fact of not being able to do something. This could mean not getting that sugary treat at the supermarket, it might be frustration of not knowing how to ask for something, or it could simply be down to hunger or fatigue. It is important to assess the situation and act accordingly, for example a child who does not know how to ask for something is not best helped by ignoring them, instead asking them to show you what they want or signing is the best way to ease frustration.
- Stay calm, don’t argue back! - Once you’ve deciphered the problem it’s really important for you to remain calm when your child has a tantrum, shouting back will usually make matters worse. The use of negative language and also a negative approach can have the same affect on your child. Adopting a more positive mindset is a good way to relax your child (and you!).
- Create a Distraction - Children have fairly short attention spans and are easily distracted, this can be a good tactic if you sense a tantrum appearing. Before the situation gets worse, simply change the subject to something they might be interested in or distract with a toy or healthy snack they might enjoy. Turns something negative into a positive.
- Reward Good Behaviour - Finally as your child has been calmed down, remember to praise and reward their good behaviours.
- Plan Ahead - Accepting that your child will have tantrums every now and again and planning ahead for this is really important. Make sure your child has a solid routine in place with time set aside for relaxing play time such as a trip to the park or a play area. It can also be useful to bear in mind any new stresses for your child that may cause tantrums, for example starting nursery. Preparing for such events and gradually easing them into situations such as this can prevent a lot of unwanted stress and frustration.
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