Recently, the kids I am around have been experiencing some of the worst temper tantrums that I have ever witnessed. Those tantrums have made me look into a few ways that I can help improve myself and the child. Here are my top favorite ways that have worked for me.
#1 – The first thing that I do during a temper tantrum is ignore. I know this may sound like a mean thing to do, but the child gives up when they realize that their tantrum is not going anywhere. To a child, the best thing they can get is attention…even if that attention is negative. So to have you not even look at them is a horrible experience.
#2 – Now that I have realized what a difference my non-attention has had on the child, I have been focusing on good attention. Whenever the child is doing something good, I really focus on that and praise them exceedingly.
#3 – Offering choices has been another step in the right direction. It is nice to let the child feel like the bigger person and let them have a decision to make. Saying something like, “The choice is yours right now. Would you like to be a happy boy/girl? Or, does it feel better right now to be mad?” More often than not the child will make the decision to be happy.
#4 – Another idea that has been a miracle for me is “This is my Happy Place.” This is a way that I can nicely go into the “ignoring my child” stage. I say, “I am sorry that you are mad right now, but this is my happy place and I would only like to be around happy children. Can you please take your anger somewhere else?” Sometimes this is very hard to say and I admit that there has been more than one occasion where I have broken down (not in front of the child) and cried because I felt like a failure. However, I have seen a big difference in the children since starting these techniques.
#5 – Keep yourself calm. At times this has been very hard for me as the day care child I have been dealing with most recently likes to hit, kick, bite, and pull hair. The best thing to do is just remove yourself (and anyone else that can get hurt) from the situation. I will often times pick up the child and place him on a bed where he can not hurt himself by banging his head around and he can not hurt me or the other children. I allow him to throw his fits and tell him simply that he can come out as soon as he decides to be a happy boy.
#6 – Hold them accountable. One thing that should always be done at the end of a tantrum is discussing their actions and holding them accountable for what they have done. Even if they are a young child, they still need to know that good actions have good rewards and bad actions have bad rewards. I also like to make the child apologize to anything or anyone they might have hurt. It might look funny to some to see a 3-year-old saying sorry to the wall for hitting it, but the child is learning that sorry is something that should always be said if their actions were not good. I have even gone as far as making the child apologize to everyone around them (whether I knew them or not) when they have thrown a tantrum in a place outside of my home.
Tantrums are hard to deal with. But, one thing you need to understand is that most adults have dealt with them a time or two as well. Just keep your cool and stick to your guns. It might seem like the easy way out to just give the child what they want, but in the long run that is only hurting the child more. They learn powerful skills at a young age and will make it through. And, so will you!
Guest writer Marina Chernyak is SAHM and co-owner of retail specialty products like bathroom etageres, contemporary tables, venetian mirrors and a lot more.