Tantrums are unpleasant to watch from an outsider’s viewpoint. Imagine being the child’s parent.
What is the definition of temper tantrums
In a nutshell, temper tantrums are unplanned acts of anger. It is done for various reasons but primarily to get attention. They will last anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes with a very intense beginning. Children often yell, scream, cry, and swing their legs and arms. There are more severe temper tantrums. A child may even bite, hit, or pinch. Violent temper tantrums like this are often times a sign of a more serious problem and should not be taken lightly. Although temper tantrums are most common in children ages 1 to 4 years old, anyone can have a tantrum. There are children who have them every day.
Tantrums are emotional explosions from your child. Some result from anger and temper, where the child stamps, kicks, hits and screams, while others are distress-related, where they cry, sob and throw themselves on the floor. They are usually most common in the toddler years, and become easier to handle once a child develops greater language skills.
- Tantrums are part of normal developmental behaviour for children aged 1-3 and over. They are not “naughty” or used deliberately to wind you up.
- It’s been estimated that tantrums occur at least once a week in 50-80% of children, and one in five two-year olds have two or more tantrums a day.
- A lot of behaviour we value in adults, such as having one’s own ideas and being assertive, has its roots in “difficult” toddler behaviour.
How can parents avoid temper tantrums
Sometimes, temper tantrums are a result of a child learning a new skill or their inability to express anger or frustration. They can happen at any moment. A temper tantrum can happen when a child feels frustrated because they can’t get their way or when they feel they want a toy.There are children who are more likely to have a tantrum than others. Here are some things to take into consideration with tantrums:
- Is your child tired?
- How old is your child?
- Does your child feel stressed out?
- Does your child have physical, mental, or emotional problems?
Also, take into consideration your own behavior as a parent. Children respond to their parents’ behavior too. If a parent responds strongly to bad behavior or gives into their child’s demands, a child is more like to have a temper tantrum. This is because they are looking for attention or to get what they want.
How to deal with temper tantrums?
- Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. This is one of the best ways to deal with your child’s anger and frustration during a temper tantrum. You can also help teach your child how to deal with their emotions better. Be aware of what triggers the temper tantrums. In knowing how to prevent the tantrum, you can help your child control them.
- Keep (them) calm. Challenging behavior is often about helping your child to learn mastering emotions. And then working out what behaviour is acceptable.
Young children just need to learn to calm down. Lead by example and calmly discuss with them where they’d like to calm down. They love to be a part of the process. Also, give them a calming activity – touching a favourite toy, for example.
- Distraction. This is an obvious one but it works so well. Sometimes all you need to do to avoid tantrums is to offer a suitable distraction activity.
So next time you find yourself dealing with a wriggling, kicking, angry child during a nappy change, hand them a toy to play with or pointing to something they can look for.
- Give them choice. When done the correct way, this often helps to stop tantrums before they even start. Offer your child two choices, instead of issuing demands.
For example, do not order “Put your shoes on”. Instead, ask them if they’d like to wear the white or red shoes.
- Avoid electronic devices before bedtime. Devices such as mobile phones and tablets emit blue light. It has negative effects on the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, especially in young children. It is advised to read children books before bedtime instead of looking at the smartphone or iPad screen.
2-year-old temper tantrums
If you child is 2 or older, you can use time-outs. Time-outs are great because they remove the child from the situation and gives them the opportunity to calm down. It teaches the child the repercussions of temper tantrums. If your child is younger than 2, he/ she might not understand why they are in time-out.
3- to 6-year-old temper tantrums
With time, most children grow out of temper tantrums. Children develop healthy ways to handle their frustration and strong emotions. If your child is still having temper tantrums after the age of 4, you might need to consult professional help. If you see temper tantrums occur during the school years, this may be the result of something else. Either they are having learning problems or not getting along with kids in their class.
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