Avoiding meltdowns and temper tantrums is possible and it all starts with you! All parents have been there at some point… One moment everything is going great and the next your precious angel is on the floor, kicking and screaming at the top of their lungs.
You’re left standing there wondering what went wrong and how to make it stop. What if it didn’t have to start in the first place? Yes, you read that right. While there is no cure-all for tantrums, you can take simple measures to start understanding your child’s temper tantrums and avoiding them.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET
You’ve probably heard the term “Hangry” before, and if you haven’t then your little one has probably shown you a great example of what it means. A mix between Hungry and Angry; it’s not only a slang word used for moody adults but a great description of your child when he hasn’t gotten the proper nutrition.
Be sure to start the day off with a nutritionally balanced breakfast, and as much as they might turn their noses up to it, make sure they eat those vegetables. They will thank you later, and you’ll be thankful too when they are full of good vitamins and in a great mood!
CREATE A ROUTINE
Consistency is key. Even your little one can be thrown off by change. When your preschooler knows what to expect from you throughout their day, then they never have to worry about what is coming next and they can focus more on growing their little minds.
You can figure out what routine works best for your family, but be sure to include a routine for healthy meals and snacks, bath time and teeth brushing, nap time (if your child still takes naps), learning time (spending some time each day going over what your child learned in preschool is highly recommended), and bedtime.
Of course, don’t forget to add plenty of playtime into your routines, as play is crucial for a developing young mind.
LEARN TO COMMUNICATE
This is important in all relationships in life, and your child is no different. The only difference is they don’t always know how to communicate to you what they want so it’s up to you to figure it out. This might sound like a challenge but it just takes paying a little extra attention.
All kids are different and they all communicate in different ways and when they feel like they can’t get their point across they get frustrated. That’s understandable, right? Get creative with communicating with your kid. Get on their level. Look at things from their perspective. When your child is easily able to tell you their needs, and you’re able to understand those needs, you’ll both be much happier.
Some things you can do to communicate more effectively with your preschooler are:
- Give them your full attention when they speak
- Pay attention to their body language
- Listen until they are done speaking
- Say exactly what you mean
- Using kind and loving expressions
- Repeat yourself in a different way when you’re not understood the first time
- Explain why when you make certain requests, such as “You can’t go in the street… because it’s dangerous and you could get hurt.”
LET THEM CHOOSE
It’s so hard letting them grow up, and yet it’s a necessity of life. For just a moment think back on your childhood and how you might have gotten frustrated when you weren’t allowed to make your own choice. Could your parents have allowed you the opportunity to make that choice? Why didn’t they? Perhaps they didn’t feel they had the extra time, or they thought you might make the wrong choice.
Being told no consistently, or always having your decisions made for you would be frustrating for anyone, especially a child. Ask them questions. “Do you want the red one or the blue one?” Give them options. “Do you want to go to the park or the museum?” You might be surprised how many tantrums you can avoid by letting your child make some simple choices throughout the day.
CHANGE OF DIRECTION
Sometimes you have done it all and you’re still left with a tantrum. In this case, try distracting them with something else. Now is the time to pull out all the tricks. You can either get irritated, or you can make a silly face… And in this case, make all the silly faces. Pull out your best dance moves, grab the favorite stuffed animal, play that annoying song on repeat, do whatever you know puts a smile on your child’s face, and remember “this too shall pass.”