When you have kids, a trip to the shops isn’t always a smooth operation…
Temper tantrums are a child’s way of expressing the strong emotions that may not have the language skills or vocabulary to communicate.
Of course, having an audience for these passionate displays of emotions can be overwhelming for any parent. Here are a few strategies to get your child back to their usual pleasant selves ASAP.
The best way to handle a temper tantrum is to avoid them completely. Watch out for the common triggers of temper tantrums, which can include:
By ensuring your child is fed, rested and unstressed when you leave the house, you can stop a temper tantrum before they even begin.
If prevention has failed, early intervention can help avoid them making a scene and giving you a headache!
When you see the warning signs of a meltdown, try to distract them by making them laugh or asking them an ‘important’ question. This activates their ‘thinking’ brains and diverts their attention from the issue at hand.
Stay Calm, Positive but Firm
Keep in mind that kids have a habit of mirroring the behaviours they see, so when they start working themselves up it’s important that you keep your cool. Use an even tone, act slowly and internalise that frustration!
When you’re talking to them, acknowledge their feelings and show them empathy as even though the situation may seem trivial to you, it’s a big deal for them.
Showing them you care doesn’t mean giving in though… use positive and kind language but don’t budge on your boundaries.
Physical touch can help regulate emotions by activating the body’s calming systems and prompting the release of happy chemicals. By hugging or holding your child when they work themselves up, emotional balance and harmony will be restored .
The illusion of choice might trick your child into thinking they’re getting their way. Give them limited options but allow them to choose.
For example: do you want to calm down here or calm down in the car?
Whatever they pick, it’s a win for you.
Consistency is Key
Giving in to your child’s demands, even once, teaches them that they can get what they want by throwing a tantrum. Ignore the temptation of the easy solve no matter how many looks you get. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.