What is a Temper Tantrum?
Temper tantrums, meltdowns, uncontrolled outbursts, hysterics, children screaming and stomping their feet, call it what you want, but it is a display of emotions by a child (or an adult). There are reasons for a child to have a temper tantrum. Some reasons are easy to find, while others require some deep searching. If caught and addressed early, they can be avoided. And hopefully, at the end of the day, we will learn how to deal with temper tantrums successfully and have a well-rounded little person come out of it.
What causes Temper Tantrums and how to avoid Them?
There are numerous potential causes for a child to have a temper tantrum, and typically they occur around 3.5 years old but can happen at any age. I will list a few reasons that are my go-to starting points. But you have to remember there are always other unknowns happening with your child that may be causing the tantrum. These are the first ones that I always look at to find the culprit to tantrums at my house.
lack of sleep
Just like you or I, without enough good sleep, your mood and emotions can become very volatile, and children are no exception to this rule. I am a strong believer that my children need a good night’s sleep. A consistent night’s sleep, every day. There are some exceptions like holidays and special occasions, but for the most part, a consistent bedtime routine and good night’s sleep will allow a child to be rested and help keep their emotions in check. You can read about how much sleep kids need here.
If you are struggling with bedtime, check out this article on 6 Easy Steps to an Easy Bedtimes.
The current term everyone is using is hangry. It is that angry feeling that happens when your body is hungry. Children get it too. And that is okay. Sometimes they are going through a growth spurt we do not about, or they are more active during the day, or they are learning lots, and their brain needs more energy. There are lots of reasons why kids get hangry. But this hangry feeling can result in a meltdown. Having a bite to eat, even a quick snack can help reverse this mood quickly.
At my house, we have a meal plan to help keep us on track and have meals ready at mealtime to help avoid hangry tantrums. Check out this 3 Day Meal Plan Challenge to help make a meal plan.
dealing with new situation
Any new situation can be stressful. And everyone deals with stress differently. When children are little, they often collapse and cry in their mom or dad’s arms after a long day. As they get older, it can manifest in different ways, such as going to their room to destress and unwind or zoning out watching tv. Even as adults, when we have a stressful day, we need to overcome that stress. Some people exercise, some drink, some people take a hot bath.
The point is, there are lots of situations that our children deal with every day that we are not aware of, and these situations could be the root cause of their behavior. Talking to them about their days to learn what is happening daily helps. This way, you will be able to quickly pull out what that stressful situation might be. This open communication helps in so many aspects of life, but if your child knows how to talk to you, solving their problems with them becomes possible.
Everyone has emotions. We have good days where we are happy and bad days where we are sad. And most of us have learned how to deal with this emotion through life, be it our parents helping us, dealing with situations at school, talking to friends, or even going to therapy to talk to a professional. We all have emotions. And that means so do kids. Only they are still small, and new situations can bring on new emotions. Throw hormones into the mix, and those emotions are all-consuming.
But there is nothing wrong with having emotions. And there is nothing wrong with displaying emotions to a certain point. You can be happy and show it by the way you walk and talk and smile. However, jumping around uncontrollably for long periods and yelling is frowned upon. Of course, there are certain exceptions, such as sporting events. The same thing goes with anger. It is acceptable to display anger with a sad face and walking around sluggishly. But slamming doors and screaming and kicking is not appropriate. Every emotion has an appropriate way of being displayed as well as one that is uncalled for. And of course, every situation is different, but most of life allows us to keep our emotions in check. And teaching our children that it is good to have emotions and how we should display those emotions is an important part of growing up. Talking to your children about emotions when they are young and modeling appropriate behavior yourself helps them understand.
Boredom may seem counterintuitive to a temper tantrum, but sometimes when your child is bored, their brain does not know how to react to the situation and is looking for something to do. It is important to keep in mind that a child’s brain is like a sponge, and it is constantly looking to absorb information. When that information intake is not occurring, children can often become angry and have meltdowns and tantrums.
Curing boredom is mostly easy, but it requires a little bit of effort as parents. Either by making a daily early activity schedule to engage and stimulate your child’s brain or sitting down with them to do new activities, any new mental and physical stimulation will help address the boredom situation.
If you need ideas for activities for your children to cure boredom, take a read of these 7 Simple Fun Activities to Keep Kids from Being Bored.
As a child, I never understood what an impact good or bad friends had on my personality. And it drove me insane when my mother would not let me hang out with so-called friends. But as an adult, I now understand that the friends my children have, play a large role in their behavior and attitude. Having good friends, meeting friends that are well behaved a good manners do well in school, well mirror itself on your children. Similarly, allowing your children to be friends with children that display negative behaviors such as yelling and screaming, and fighting will also be mirrored on your children. Having good friends, meaning friends that are well behaved, have good manners, do well in school, will mirror itself on your children.
Being an active parent with your children, engaging with their friends, and seeing what their friends are like, will ultimately help ensure that your children are learning the behaviors you want.
how to deal with Temper tantrums
Having said all that, there will inevitably be a tantrum something will happen there will be a meltdown. It is just the way life works. So once all that is done, here are some tips on how to deal with temper tantrums.
Do not let the situation overwhelm your emotions. As a parent, you need to stay calm. This will become tough if the meltdown is epic. But you need to remain calm. By getting angry in the situation, you are only adding fuel to the fire and are not helping to address what is happening.
Remaining calm is vital to the success of defusing a temper tantrum. There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to calm yourself down before you react. This may even involve putting your child in a time out to allow you time to catch your breath and regain your composure. That is completely acceptable.
address the issue right away
Once you are calm enough to deal with the situation, you need to deal with the situation. You can not wait a few days or a week or a month. If you can not address the situation right away, you need to address the situation that day. There are situations where you can not deal with it right away, but if you wait too long, the understanding of the situation will be lost on your child.
discuss the consequences for when it happens again
I can not stress this enough, but talk to your child! Talk to them about what happened, why it happened, and what you can do to avoid it happening again. They need to be part of the solution. It is ok to give them a time out to calm down and catch their breath. But once you are addressing the situation, talk to your child!
Discuss what happened calmly. And as a team, come up with a plan for what to do next time.
It is always hard to be prepared for something that you do not know is coming. However, after the first one occurs, and you have seen the chaos that ensues because of a meltdown, you will have time to make a plan for the future. It does not need to be a novel, but you need to figure out what steps to follow during the meltdown and what the consequences are afterward if required.
Talk to a Professional
If you are at your wit’s end and nothing is working, seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Many professionals specialize in child behavior, and they can help. They are good at it, and it might be something deeper that needs helps.
final Thoughts on temper Tantrums and Meltdowns
Now that you are a pro at dealing with temper tantrums, I need to tell you 2 final secrets.
1) You need to explain to your child that there are consequences to actions. And repeating these same actions will result in more severe consequences over time. So, the first offense can be a time out, but the second offense is a time out and something else, and the third offense is these two items, plus one more. This way, they quickly start to realize that there are consequences that mean something.
In our house, after a meltdown, we talk it all through. Then, we let our kids pick the additional consequence since they know what means the most to them.
2) And I cannot stress this enough, every child is different. And every child will react differently to you in similar situations. You need to be consistent with each child individually. You may need to give one child a time out while taking away screen time from another. But you need to make sure that you are consistent with each one. You cannot use a one size fits all solution with children.
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2 thoughts on “How to Deal with Temper Tantrums In Kids”
It is a very good article with good points…good work!
Thanks so much for your thoughts!