All children will throw a tantrum at some point when they’re little and it can sometimes be difficult to manage them in different situations. When your little one starts to tantrum and nothing seems to be able to distract them, it makes you feel like having your own meltdown too! Don’t worry you’re not alone!
Tantrums occur for a range of reasons. For children between one and two- years-old, tantrums are usually due to not having the ability to communicate what they want or need, for example milk, food or a nappy change. For children over two, tantrums come down to one simple thing, not getting what they want!
How you cope and deal with tantrums really does depend on the extent of the episode, as well as how you approach them from the beginning. We have several tips to help you diffuse these tricky outbursts.
Don’t smack or shout
First and foremost, avoid disciplining your child by smacking them. The law for smacking children is not defined clearly but does state that, ‘the 2004 Children Act makes it illegal for a parent to smack a child, except where this amounts to “reasonable punishment”.
We’re strongly against this method of punishment and we feel that there are many other constructive and positive ways to diffuse a tantrum. You are your child’s main role model and everything you do influences them, so teach them to solve issues by talking things through and listening.
If you feel like you’re about to get to this point, walk away from the situation and take a deep breath.
Try to understand them
Before it gets out of hand, try and talk to your child to see what it is that’s bothering them. You can’t tackle a problem without knowing the reason for it in the first place, can you? This gives them a chance to express themselves and gives them a sense of control.
It’s easy saying it, but speaking calmly really does have more of a positive effect on your tantruming child.
Although your stress levels may be at boiling point at this stage, use a soothing voice and keep eye contact to connect with your child. Shouting and screaming will get you nowhere; it will only cause you and your child more stress and you’ll only feel guilty afterwards. When your child is tantruming, they’re attention seeking and yelling at them will only encourage them to play-up more.
This is a great way to try and switch them out of their tantrum. By distracting your child with something more interesting, for example, food or toys, you’ll help them forget about their meltdown. It helps to be super excited about the distraction to really get their attention too.
Children tend to have a short attention span, so distracting them with something a lot more fun than kicking and screaming should work well!
This method is particularly useful if you catch them just before they begin tantruming.
If your little one starts to tantrum, try ignoring them by either leaving the room or continuing on with what you’re doing, whether that’s cleaning, talking to a friend or watching television.
If they persist and you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, leave the room and use calming techniques to reduce your stress levels. Remember that their tantrums can be just as stressful for you too!
Equally, by ignoring them you’re giving them space too. In doing so it gives them the chance to vent and regain their self-control in a non-destructive manner. Just ensure that they are doing this safely!
This may seem like an odd tip, but it’s an essential one. Once your child has stopped having their meltdown, give them plenty of praise and love. Express your happiness and pride that they’ve stopped misbehaving and come round.
After lots of tears and screaming, your little one will be in a bit of a state and they’ll need comforting. Remember, you’re not praising them for the tantrum, but for stopping it.
Giving them snugly hugs and kisses will really help settle your child down and like with any person, it can often be the only thing they need. Cuddles will make them feel more secure and will reassure them that you love them.
We believe in approaching difficult situations with the most sensitive and constructive methods. If you’d like your child to play in an environment where learning and development is put first, get in touch!