As everyone works to balance home and work life it would be expected to see a rise in the tantrums your child might be experiencing. Tantrums are an expected part of child development however that does not make them any less difficult to deal with. Below are a few strategies for dealing with tantrums as well as what might trigger them.

  • Tantrums are a response to a problem that needs to be fixed or a need that hasn’t been met. Often children do not have the emotional capacity to respond in a different way so a tantrum manifests.
  • Tantrums can be a learned behavior. If children lack the emotional understanding to reason out their problem and they feel that tantrums have worked in the past, they will continue to fall back on them.

Here are some strategies for coping with tantrums:

  • Don’t give in: this reinforces the idea that tantrums work when they are not getting what they want
  • Remain calm: This will help them begin to calm down as you model the behavior you would like to see.
  • Ignore negative behavior and praise the positive. Tip: Make sure the praise is labelled. For example, instead of saying “That was nice” say “It was nice that you shared your toy when your turn was over”.
  • Use consistent consequences: It is important to follow through with stated consequences every time. Children respond well when they know what the consequence will be and know that it will happen every time.
  • Don’t try to reason with a child that is having a tantrum. Once they have calmed down you can model negotiating but that will not be successful if they, or you, are feeling upset. Tip: use language like, “I can sit with you until you are feeling calm again and then we can talk about it”.

Yoga Pretzel Activity:

Be a Rainbow. This is a mindfulness activity that you could used to redirect your child after a tantrum. This will help them calm down and focus on something else.

  • Relax and close your eyes and go inside. Slow down your breathing… sigh, ah… let go and melt into the floor. Imagine you are walking down a beautiful path. A storm is clearing and you see a rainbow. Stand under it and let its warm, bright light fill you with happiness. You are connected to all life. You are a rainbow too.
  • Red: You are strong and safe
  • Orange: you are happy and playful. you are proud and confident.
  • Yellow: you are kind and caring.
  • Blue: you are honest and truthful. Indigo: you are clever and creative.
  • Violet: you are a good friend.

Ditch the Guilt and Insecurity

When you consistently practice steps, you’ll definitely see meltdowns lessen in duration and frequency. But something even better happens, too. Approaching a tantrum in this way allows you to stay strong and calm in the moment, instead of responding out of your own frustration, impatience, and stress. That means instead of feeling guilty for losing it on your toddler, you’ll feel proud, confident, and capable. High five!

Remember, tantrums are challenging!

You’re not a bad mom, dad, grandparent or caregiver if tantrums sometimes get the best of you, too. The most important thing for your child’s mental health and development is simply your love, support, and care.