Keeping Cool During a Child’s Tantrums

managing tantrumsTantrums can be so frustrating. It feels like your child is crying and screaming about something so unimportant. You may find it hard to keep your cool when you are so annoyed. Why won’t your kid be reasonable so you can both move on with your day? What can you do to help tantrums become more manageable? Will this ever get any easier?


Tips for Parents During Tantrums

  1. According to KidsHealth, the most important thing you can during your child’s tantrum is to stay calm. They are having BIG emotions that they aren’t sure how to communicate; so model appropriate behavior by keeping your cool. If you escalate, the situation can become much worse because your child is unable to regulate themselves.
  2. While calm, try to put yourself in your child’s shoes and show empathy. Why are they so upset? The reason may seem silly to you, but for your child it is very important and frustrating.
  3. Name their emotion while still holding a boundary. “Wow, you are really sad right now because you don’t want to leave the park. It’s ok to be sad, but we still have to get in the car to leave.” Naming the emotion shows your child that you hear them and trying to understand where they are coming from. You can still hold the boundary while letting your child know you see and hear them and that their emotions are valid.
  4. Try to understand what they are telling you during the tantrum. Are they hungry? Do they need comfort? Are they upset they aren’t getting their way? They might not know how to tell you verbally what they need, so they are showing you through their actions instead.

Tips for Preventing Tantrums

Often tantrums come from your child’s desire for control in certain situations. Do you often find tantrums happening during your morning or bedtime routines? Your child probably wants to do things the way they want to do them and not the way you want them to do it.

  1. Let go of some control and give your child choices. Instead of telling them “we’re going to put on the pink dress today”, ask them, “Do you want to wear the pink dress or the blue dress?” You don’t have to give them free reign, but giving a choice or two often gives kids the sense of control they desire.
  2. Give lots of positive attention. Sometimes tantrums come from your child’s desire for attention, even if that means negative attention like mom or dad being frustrated with their tantrum. Offer encouragement and praise when your child displays positive behaviors and you will more likely see those behaviors repeated.

Parenting is hard! For more support or parenting tips, contact Jazzmin Bailey, APC and schedule a parenting session.