Tantrums will happen. As a parent, you can’t really avoid them. They are a way for a child to express his or her frustrations before knowing how to handle emotions effectively.
While tantrums are understandable at the age of 2, they can become a problem if your child uses them to get his or her way. Some children know that their parents will cave in and hand over whatever they wish if they simply stomp their feet and scream a little.
To avoid this happening, there are a few tricks you need to learn on how to deal with these tantrums. If you know how to effectively handle these outburst, you will be able to teach your child how to handle them, and their new onslaught of emotions.
- Remember you are the parent
It can be difficult to feel like having a complete meltdown yourself when your kid kicks off. One of the most important things to remember is that you are the adult. You can’t be acting like a child yourself when trying to diffuse a tantrum. Keep your cool and stay in control of your emotions.
- Understand why tantrums happen
Our kids aren’t necessarily being naughty when they are throwing a tantrum. They are discovering new emotions and environments every day. This can be really overwhelming for them, and sometimes the only way they deal with it is by having a meltdown. Remember this when approaching the situation.
- What is causing the tantrum
Before barging in guns blazing, take a step back and assess the situation. What has caused the tantrum? Take a look at your surroundings, take note of the situation. Is it too loud, too overwhelming for your child? Has someone taken their favorite toy away? Knowing what has caused the tantrum will help you solve the problem.
- Learn how your child reacts
Every child is different. The way one throws a tantrum may be completely different to the next child. Even siblings can act differently. Knowing the signs that your child is heading for a tantrum can help you stop it before it happens. Some kids whirl around like a mini tornado, some hold their breath, some scream their lungs out and some keep completely silent. They will soon develop a pattern.
- Remember they are not adults
You need to remind yourself that they are not like us. They are little creatures exploring the big bad world, with limited resources. They aren’t able to process information and emotions like we do. Everything is new to them, and trying to deal with all these new experiences can really get the better of them. Remember that they can’t deal with situations the way we do, and you can’t expect them to. Thinking they should act like an adult will just frustrate you more, because it is not going to happen.
- Don’t get angry
The worst thing you can do is match their tantrum with screaming of your own. You need to stay calm and be their pillar. You can’t expect them to calm down if you are a whole bag of crazy. By watching you react in a calm and collected manner, you are setting an example of how a responsible person acts.
- Remove them from the situation
Take them away from the cause of the situation if you can. If they are over stimulated, take them outside. If another child is upsetting them, go somewhere else. They will not be able to calm down with the cause still being there.
- Get down to their level
Get down on your haunches, look them in the eye and have them match your breathing. By getting down onto their level, you are able to connect with them on a more personal level. Speak in short, simple sentences so that it is easier for them to understand.
- Talk them through their emotions
Once they have calmed down, talk them through what just happened. Speaking about their emotions will make them more comfortable expressing them, and will help them understand them better. Try and get them to recognize what emotion they are feeling, that way they can help themselves avoid getting to an extreme level by putting a stop to a negative emotion when it starts happening.
- Don’t give in
Tantrums will happen, but they should only happen for a short period. If your child is of the age where tantrums are a bit excessive, they might be using it to manipulate you. If you give in and give them what they want when a tantrum happens, they might see this as a way of negotiation. Stop this from happening by not giving in to tantrums and remaining the strong, yet loving, adult figure.
Tantrums can be difficult to deal with, and sometimes really painful, but they can be a great tool to teach children how to deal with their emotions. By helping your child understand why they have tantrums, and how to avoid them, you are giving them what they need to be level headed and rational thinkers in tough situations.