Temper Tantrums in Kids: You go to buy groceries. Just when the shopping gets interesting your kid starts pulling you and gets cranky. Starts telling that he wants to go home. You try to negotiate with him to give you more time.He spots some chocolate’s and grabs them. You politely say no and place them back. Your kid insists you buy.
The kid slowly escalates and start throwing a tantrum. You are truly embarrassed and frustrated and hurriedly abandon your card and leave the place.
If you can relate to this. You are not alone. Every parent would have some time or the other faced such a situation.
- What are temper tantrums?
- Reasons behind the tantrums?
- Effective ways to help reduce the temper tantrums in kids
- How to handle and respond to a tantrum?
What are temper tantrums?
Temper tantrums are unpleasant and disruptive behaviors and emotional outbursts in response to unmet needs or desires. This is natural during early childhood.
Reasons behind the tantrums?
Children show expression of their frustration due to something in a way that they cry, or shout aloud is called a tantrum. Let’s understand this by an example, you and your child go to the shopping, the child saw a toy and told you to purchase it and obviously, you refused to do that and then the tantrum happens.
The child expresses their frustration and feelings by crying bitterly because maybe your child does not have the vocabulary or cannot find words or actions to express their feelings and frustration. The frustration may lead to the anger that results in starting a temper tantrum.
Tantrum usually happens in young children when they have trouble in coping up with their feelings. It can even be simple feeling such as boredom or sleepiness or tiredness.
Temper Tantrum in kids usually is displayed by older children when they are unable to deal with their reactions to something that is triggering un-comfortableness. When they are unable to stay calm and behave.
Effective ways to help reduce the temper tantrums in Kids
Does your child have temper tantrums? Does he/she get angry easily? Yes! Do not worry! In this blog, you will find effective ways to deal and reduce with the temper tantrums.
Teach through conditioning
According to the learning theory of conditioning, children learn by positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is giving children their favourite thing or toy on performing good behaviour. For example, giving your child one hour extra to watch TV for perfectly doing their homework before time.
Negative reinforcement is another form of conditioning that involves the removal of a favourite stimulus or thing for performing bad behaviour. For example, decrease the pocket money of the child for performing bad behaviour.
While both are forms of conditioning and will provide results, we are inclined to suggest that positive reinforcement yes much more emotionally appealing.
Shower positive attention and Respond Positively
Give your kid positive attention. Responds positively to them. For example, catch them while doing good, praise their little efforts, and give rewards on their positive behavior.
For example, a trip to the mall and back home was uneventful and your kid was very cooperative. Give them a praise for their good behaviour.
This will not only make them happy that they were noticed. It will also act as positive reinforcement which will go a long way in helping them understand and differentiate between good and bad behaviour.
To know more about morality / moral values to be inculcated in our kids. we have got it covered in our blog Absolutely Surprising truth about Morality development in kids.
Recent studies show that response positively has a great and positive impact on the child’s agreeableness and wellbeing.
If you positively respond to your child and make them completely understand the situation, it will make your child feel happier and will agree on your choices.
If you had given your child a time of and ask them to control themselves and calm down. Do praise them when they do calm down and come back and apologise. Praise them with words like It is nice how you dealt and overcame your little angry monster.
Offer them limited choices or control
Children will become more aggressive when someone ordered them to follow the instructions. Human beings are born to be independent. They do not like obeying orders.
As a parent, you must give them choices. For example, “Do you want mango or orange?” Or “Do you want to complete your homework before or after watching TV?”.
These choices make them feel worthy and confident and they will happily follow your will. Instead of this, if you ordered them to brush the teeth, they will say “no”.
Distract your child by adding some other things to the list as an alternative or change the conversation and the environment.
For example, the child needs the PlayStation V then you need to give him other choices like toys or books.
If your kid is one of the kids who don’t like to go and play our blog 21 simple ways to encourage your kid to play will be able to help you with this.
On the other side, you can distract your child by changing the conversation and start talking about some other interesting things that child likes the most.
For example, my niece is a foodie. Whenever she starts getting a bit cranky and we know a full-blown tantrum is on the way. The effective way to distract her that we have found is to talk about some food. Such as, can we make omelettes for dinner?
She immediately forgets what she was about to do and starts giving her opinion on what she thinks dinner should be.
Help your child to learn new skills
Education is not the only thing that makes your child successful. Help your child by teaching them new skills like drawing or gardening.
This will help the child divert their energy to the skill instead of clinging to you and throwing a tantrum.
When you know your kid starting to become cranky because your kid is bored. A simple paper and crayons are enough sometimes distract the kid and get them to do something useful.
Also you will be surprised to know boredom is a very beneficial thing for your kid. I highly recommend you to read one of my favorite article “I AM BORED” – Surprising benefits for kids you did not know about
Listen carefully to your child when he/she is making a request. Listening carefully induced a sense of love and care in your child that will make them easily agreed to your response.
For example, your child requesting to buy a toy in the market, listen to them carefully and then tell them wisely that why you cannot purchase the toy, or you can purchase something else.
By listening carefully, you might also gain more insights into your kids thought process. This will help you understand the reason why they are asking for something (or more like demanding something).
Example your kid picks up a pair of shoes while you are shopping. You might deny it because you have recently got your kids new pairs of shoes. But your kid insists that the new shoes are got and starts throwing a tantrum.
When you try to talk to your kid and listen to what they have to say. You figure out that the main reason your kid is trying to ask for new shoes is because the ones that you had got is hurting his legs. Now it becomes a valid case for you to indulge in your kids request.
Understand the child limits
The usual tantrum triggers for children are Hunger, tiredness, exhaustion, Boredom etcetera. Identify them and try to avoid such situation.
For example, when you feel your child is getting bored and starts to pull you to go home. One of the techniques you can use is to involve them in your shopping. Ask them to pick something and come. Make them look for something in the row you are shopping. Or ask them to push your grocery cart.
Another example, if your child is tired enough then you should not go for shopping or grocery.
If you completely understand the limits of your child, you will do work accordingly. The key is to eliminate tantrum triggers, so you have a peaceful time.
Try to be consistent and Pre-plan
Try to establish a consistent daily routine and stick to it. For example, make a routine including sleep time, work time, and playtime.
In this way your child will know what to expect in a certain situation. And is well equipped to deal with it. Set appropriate routine limits and follow them.
Do work or go shopping when you know that your child is not hungry or tired. If you expecting to be late while shopping because you must wait in line, you must prepare a meal before for your child.
Teach the child how to use words
Most of the children understand your words even they are not able to speak. If your child is not speaking yet, you must teach them the basic words to express their feelings so that they can tell you the word instead of crying.
For example, teach them these words like “hurt”, “want more”, “hungry”, and “thirsty”. So, the child will tell you the exact word that he/she is feeling or needs at that time.
Avoid tantrums prone situations
Identify the situations in which temper tantrums in kids is triggered the most, and then try to avoid those situations.
For example, if your child begs for toys, try to go to those market areas where toys were not displayed.
If your child tends to be hyperactive and bossy around with siblings. If possible, it is better that you take only one child with you when you go for shopping to not get overwhelmed by the commotion both your kids make.
Teach child coping mechanism
Slowly start teaching your child how to deal with emotions. How to self-regulate behaviour. And how to calm down when they are stressed.
It can be simple things like going for a quick walk, or hugging a toy, or taking deep breath, or sitting in a quiet place.
When they learn these coping mechanisms and they are successful there better able to manage their behavior, their stress levels, and their emotions.
Our kids these days lack enough skills needed to face challenges. This is also a reason why they become cranky or anxious. How to help our kids face challenges.
And also many helpful tips on coping mechanism is outlined in our useful blog 11 PRACTICAL WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD FACE CHALLENGES.
How to handle and respond to a temper tantrums?
While most of the points that we have outline about are about how to reduce temper tantrums in kids. Help the kid to cope better. And deal with his or her behaviour and emotions by themselves.
While they might all be good. We understand that temper tantrums in kids are bound to happen. And parent will be left with no choice but to face temper tantrums from their children.
While we understand that this can be very frustrating challenging and sometimes feels helpless to the parent.
We have listed below some of the tips that parents can use to handle a tantrum episode from their kid.
Tips to handle tantrum episode
- Be perfectly calm (at least appear to be so) during the whole situation and try to avoid the behavior.
- If you fail to stay calm and you are at home. Your child is in a safe place. Then just leave them room for a few minutes to recollect yourself.
- Distract your child with some attractive things in the market or with effective communication. Start involving a child in whatever you are doing. Because every child loves to be of help to an adult
- Change the environment in which tantrum starts. Avoid it whenever possible.
- Calmly hold or hug the child if he/she is kicking or hitting someone until the child calms down. Your hug will not only be reassuring to the child but works as an effective way to control positively your child without intimidating the child.
- Talk calmly to your child acknowledging their feelings. Example if your child is cranky because your child is feeling sleepy. Talk to your child by saying. I know you are sleepy. Can you give me 5 minutes I will finish this work and we can rush home?
- Do not try to reason it out with the child when the child is visibly agitated. The child will be in no frame of mind to hear. It will only release their frustration level and in turn yours. Weather avoid the little one and quickly wrap up whatever you are doing to exit from the situation.
- Raising your voice scolding or threatening your child will only make your child more anxious and the scene much worse. Even if it gives you temporary relief avoid this at all cost so that your child is not start developing and anxiety related issues.
You can also..
- If your child is unreasonable and demanding. Asking for everything that their eyes falls upon. It is time that you take control of the situation. Stand firmly to your decision and do not given in to the tantrum. Since giving in at this point will only be a negative reinforcement to your child and you can expect many such tantrums to happen.
- Get commitment from your child beforehand on good behaviour before taking your child out. Example I always asked my niece if she will behave well if I take her out for movie. I have noticed that whenever she had committed, she had stood by it. However, when I ask for this commitment, she has also negotiated a popcorn or an ice cream during interval with me.
All parents some day or the other face temper tantrums from their children. This does not mean that the parent has failed in parenting the child. There is no reason to feel depressed or guilty about it. Let me assure you that when your kid throws a temper tantrum it surely does not mean that you have raised a bad kid.
Statistics show that around 91% of the children up to the age of 3 have had temper tantrums some time or the other. Temper tantrums in kids is normal up to the age of 4 and usually subsites on its own.
There is nothing to worry if it is manageable and poses no grave danger to the child or others.
In most of the cases there is no need to seek outside help.
- Tantrums become way too frequent.
- Continues frequently and more aggressively post age of 4.
- Tantrums that in some way can hurt somebody or the kid itself.
- Your instinct senses that there can be a deeper issue.
- You are unable to cope up with the stress caused by this.
Then it is OK to seek for additional help.
We hope this blog has been helpful to you. If Yes, show us love by sharing the blog post with your friends and loved ones. Together we can make the world a better place one step at a time.
If you have any other idea or tip on how to reduce temper tantrums in kids, please do share with us in your comments below. This will help us to make our blog better and above all your knowledge will benefit other parents also.