Temper tantrums can be undeniably frustrating – for both parent and child. They can come in the form of whining, screaming and crying uncontrollably, or something more physical like kicking or hitting for an extended period. They are equally common in either gender but vary in frequency from child to child. They all have one thing in common – it is a perfectly natural part of growing up.
Tantrums and meltdowns can most commonly be attributed to your child experiencing too many emotions, coupled with the inability to express their frustrations in a healthy manner.
But even though you understand why your child may be behaving this way, how do you get them to calm down?
Here are some tips and tricks you can use to curb their outbursts:
1. Keep calm
Depending on the volume and duration of their tantrum, it can be tempting to lose your cool as well. However, getting angry will only prolong the issue. Remember that you are trying to teach your child how to stay calm, and losing your temper in this situation will be unhelpful and counterproductive in the long run.
2. Give them a time-out
Children tend to have meltdowns as a means of getting your attention. They may not be rational at that point, so taking time to explain the situation may not be helpful at times.
As such, it’s essential to let your child get everything out of their system in a closed-off place. When they realise that no one is paying them any attention, they will calm down on their own. The duration of these time-outs varies according to the individual, but it should not exceed 5 minutes.
However, this tip should not be used too frequently as it will allow the child to get too comfortable, making it an ineffective method.
3. Understand their emotions
It’s crucial to remember that a temper tantrum is not a reflection of what your child feels for you. It is more about their needs and their challenge in conveying them. They need to feel understood for them to express their feelings in the first place.
When trying to get them to talk, use easy words. Even at the height of their emotional state, they should be able to tell you about what they’re feeling. Show them that words are more effective than a tantrum when communicating.
4. Distract them
Children tend not to be able to focus on one thing for too long. Use this to your advantage. Divert their attention to anything else or bring them elsewhere.
In practice, if your child is having a meltdown about wanting to have dessert before dinner, quickly ask them to pick out a movie to watch together. Now, your child is sufficiently distracted because they feel responsible for something else and will take that seriously instead.
Tantrums and meltdowns, while frustrating in the moments, are not something you should be exceedingly worried about. As children grow older, they gain the ability to convey their needs and desires in more constructive ways. These emotional outbursts will lessen on their own as they grow more confident in themselves.
If you’re worried about how your child behaves in childcare centres and preschools when you’re not with them, we have you covered. At Raffles Kidz, our safe and nurturing environment allows children to express themselves freely and when faced with tantrums or meltdowns, our well-trained teachers will be there to positively guide them to understand their emotions. Book a tour with us today to find out more.