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Taming Temper Tantrums
How to Stop Tantrums Before They Start
- Stick to a routine—Children have somewhat predictable needs for food and sleep. Schedules help your child know what to expect every day.
- Knowing your child and their limits—This means being flexible enough to change your day around your child's moods, especially when they are hungry or tired.
- Offering your child a few choices to provide a sense of control over their environment.
- Praising your child for positive behavior
- Keeping objects that spark temper tantrums out of sight, such as a complex puzzle they find frustrating
- Picking your battles and accommodate your child when the request is reasonable
- Offering age-appropriate toys
Temper Tantrum Tips
- Keep Your Cool—Shouting or getting angry will prolong your child's tantrum. If your child is in a safe environment, you can leave the room and return after you have regained your calmness.
- Investigate—Spend time understanding why your child is getting upset to determine if they need comfort or are hurt, for example.
- Use Distractions—Redirect your child by asking them to play a game, read a book, or play with a toy. Changing locations, such as going outside, may also help distract your child.
- When to Ignore—Minor displays of anger, such as crying, screaming, or kicking can be ignored. However, if this happens in a public place, you should take your child home or to another location, such as your car.
- When to Respond—While some behaviors can be ignored, others must be responded to immediately, such as hitting or kicking someone or throwing items. Stay firm and communicate that these are not acceptable behaviors.
- Encourage Breaks—When your child can't be reasoned with, it's best to have them take a short break. After the break, talk over what happened.
What To Avoid
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry http://www.aacap.org
Healthy Children - American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org
Canadian Institute of Child Health http://www.cich.ca
Kids Health & Safety Healthy Canadians http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
Temper tantrums. Nemours Kid's Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/tantrums.html. Updated January 2012. Accessed July 18, 2014.
Top tips for surviving temper tantrums. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: hhttp://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/pages/Temper-Tantrums.aspx. Updated May 28, 2014. Accessed July 18, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 07/2014
- Update Date: 00/71/2014