If you are a parent, most likely your child has thrown a temper tantrum. The ear-piercing screams, kicking, screaming and rolling around on the floor tantrums that most toddlers and children put their parents through is nothing new, but it can be very frustrating. How do you calm your child down when they throw a tantrum? How can you prevent it from happening in the future? Luckily, there has been quite a bit of research done on tantrums over the past few years and we can better understand what causes them and also how to diffuse them. Temper #tantrums are never fun to witness, but with a little patience and insight, you can take them in stride. Click To Tweet
What is a Temper Tantrum?
According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, a tantrum is an episode of extreme anger, in which frustration is characterized by crying, screaming, throwing things, violent body motions, falling to the floor, banging their head, or banging against the floor. Most tantrums occur between the ages of one and three and are a normal part of child development.
Why Children Have Temper Tantrums
Temper tantrums happen for numerous reasons. They can occur when kids are tired, hungry, uncomfortable, or when they can’t get what they want. Tantrums can be frustrating for a parent, but learning to deal with frustrations is a valuable lesson for every child. There are baby tantrums and also toddler and school-aged tantrums.
Baby Tantrums–Baby tantrums are different than a toddler or school-aged tantrums, and are not really about temper, actually. Some common triggers for baby tantrums is overtiredness, hunger, fear, overstimulation, and inability to communicate.
Toddler/School Aged Tantrums–When kids are rapidly growing and they are on the verge of their next physical or mental developmental stage, there is a high probability that your child will become agitated, frustrated, sullen, or angry, and lash out in a tantrum. These changes and tantrums typically show around age two, five, and then at puberty.
Dealing With Temper Tantrums
Tantrums not only show us when our children are upset, but they can be upsetting to the parent having to deal with it, too. The number one thing to remember is to keep calm and don’t lose your cool. Tantrums are a reflection of their feelings, disappointments, and built up emotions, and once their feelings are released, their attitudes and actions will diffuse and their behavior will improve.
Handling Baby Tantrums–If your baby is throwing a tantrum, remember to stay calm. Your baby needs you to help soothe them and figure out what it is they need. If the baby is overtired, try to rock them softly to sleep. Or, if hungry, give them a snack, bottle, or nurse them. They may need a diaper change, or if they are overstimulated, move them to a quiet place to settle down.
Handling Toddler Tantrums–If your toddler or school-aged child has a tantrum, it is usually because they lack the communication skills needs to fully discuss their frustrations. Observe what set them off and show your child what appropriate ways to express emotions are. Practice listening and be compassionate to their fears and anxiety. Help your toddler understand and accept what they are feeling, rather than trying to distract them from them.
Handling School Aged Tantrums–It is important to validate your school-aged child’s feelings when they are throwing a tantrum. Again, help them communicate to you what is causing their frustration and help teach them appropriate ways of dealing with stress, hunger, disappointment, and frustration. This helps them know they have support and help when they need it.
Preventing Temper Tantrums
To prevent future temper tantrums, it’s important to learn your child’s triggers. Identifying the causes and then being supportive and helping to diminish the triggers allows you to help your child, as well as prevent tantrums. Encourage positive behaviors and help your child learn how to express their emotions without the screaming and kicking and crying.
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