Monday, January 27, 2014

Taming Temper Tantrums

I thought someone would've called the cops last weekend.  That is how loud my 3 year old granddaughter was screaming {and crying and stomping her feet and throwing herself on the cold, hard floor}.  What was she upset about?  Two little letters that form one powerful word- N-O!

I was a strict parent and even though I am a little more lenient with my granddaughter, I still have pretty high expectations of her behavior.  Since she lives with me, I discipline her more than the average Mimi.  And, just like when my kids were little, her tantrums push ALL my buttons. 

While it is hard to maintain your cool when your child is having a meltdown, it is really important that you do. 

Here are some tips for handling your child's next tantrum:

Photo Credit: Quiet Graces
  • Remember that tantrums are a normal part of child development.  While you shouldn't tolerate the behaviors associated with temper tantrums, particularly as your child gets older, the behavior is normal.  For kids ages 18 months to 3-4 years, you can expect tantrums to occur.  As they struggle to develop their language skills, kids sometimes turn to crying, whining and throwing "fits" to communicate or achieve an outcome.
  • Don't "feed "the tantrum. I will not give my granddaughter what she wants if she threw a fit to get it.  She is learning this and I can see her internal struggle trying to calm herself down.  Let your child know that mommy doesn't like that behavior and will talk to them when they calm down. 
  • Stay calm.  If you get upset or yell, you are contributing to the problem rather than correcting the behavior.  Our kids learn from watching us.  Let them see that even though they are out of control at that moment, mommy is not.  This will help them feel safe and will often decrease the length and severity of the tantrum.
  • Look for the cause.  Yes, sometimes tantrums are simply because a child wants their way but often there is an underlying reason for the behavior.  Hunger, fatigue, disruption of routine or emotional triggers like a new baby in the house are often the cause of tantrums.  Toddlers have a low frustration tolerance and they don't have the verbal skills to communicate their frustration so a tantrum often erupts.
  • Talk it through.  When the tantrum is over, make sure your child knows that you don't love the tantrums but you love them. Focus on the behavior while making sure the child feels secure. Instead of saying "you're a bad girl" try saying "Mommy doesn't like it when you yell". 
Take a deep breath, mama! The toddler years will pass all too soon!

Till tomorrow,

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