Tantrums are a frustrating part of parenthood. However, as strange as it may seem, tantrums are normal. They are a part of children’s development, allowing them to express themselves if they are angry, frustrated, or upset.

Tantrums are common during the second year of life when language skills are starting to develop. Because toddlers can’t yet speak using many words to express what they want, feel, or need, frustration may cause a tantrum. As language skills improve, outbursts tend to decrease. Here are some helpful techniques to remember if your children are close to, or in the middle of a tantrum:

  • Keep your cool when responding to a tantrum. Don’t complicate the problem with your frustration or anger. Since your job is helping your child learn to calm down, you need to be calm too.
  • Do your best to understand why your child is upset. If your child is tired or hungry, it’s time for a nap or a snack. Sometimes, you may need to provide comfort. Other times, its best to ignore an outburst or distract your children with a new activity.
  • If a tantrum is to get attention from parents, one of the best ways to counter this behavior is to ignore it. If a tantrum happens after your child is refused something, you need to stay calm. Don’t give a lot of explanations why your child can’t have what he or she wants. Move on to another activity with your children.
  • If a tantrum happens after your child is told to do something he or she does not want to do, it’s best to ignore the tantrum. But be sure that you follow through on having your children complete the task after they are calm.
  • If a safety issue is involved and your child repeats the behavior after being told to stop, use a time-out for several minutes. Be consistent and don’t give in on safety issues.
  • Preschoolers and older children are more likely to use tantrums to get their way if they’ve learned that this behavior works. For school-age children, it’s appropriate to send them to their rooms to cool off while paying little attention to the behavior.

As parents, we want to do everything we can to help our children feel better and good about themselves. But it is important to remember not reward your children’s tantrum by giving in. This action will only prove to your little ones that the outburst was effective. Instead, after the tantrum storm has passed, verbally praise your children for regaining control. Use statements such as “I like how you calmed down.”

Heaven’s Elect Christian Learning Center and Daycare is a Non-denominational Christian childcare center fully licensed by the state of Michigan. Our Midland daycare center has been serving the community since 2000. Please contact us at heavenselect.com.