Five Ways To Deal With Tantrums

So what does the adult do when there is an active tantrum or melt down? Dealing with toddler tantrums can be a daunting task but you can go through it.

1. Trust that your child is releasing tension and processing some powerful feelings. It is much healthier that all of this is released rather than allowed to fester and grow within. How you view the situation will enable you to be more helpful.

2. Allow it to flow. Don’t try to make it better. Don’t soothe or cajole or shame. Let the energy move through your child and know that you are supporting the situation by being present and listening.

3. After you see that the climax has been reached and there is a kind of settling down you can say something like, You are feeling very____(disappointed,frustrated, angry, overwhelmed) right now. Tell me how I can help.” Then listen. Your child may very easily say more about the situation in which case you are invited to listen. Continue to reflect back the feelings your child shares.

4. Your child may ask to be left alone in which case you may say, “Alright but I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me.” Or your child may just need a hug and show you this. The important thing is to follow the cues. When we allow children to express themselves, we are telling them on another level that we fully accept who they are. As adults its our job to know that children’s emotional responses to situations will change as they mature.

5. If a situation was created that could have been avoided, it might be helpful to talk about what the choices might be “next time.” This helps the child to process the experience and feel empowered to choose differently next time around. If the tantrum occurred because of tiredness, hunger, over-stimulation or illness then its  important for the parents to take note and work to avoid letting it happen again.

Keep your child be safe. Don’t allow random destruction. Parents may have to help children find an appropriate release. Some children really want and need a physical outlet for their upset and it can be directed to tearing news paper or punching pillows or stuffed animals. Sometimes lying on a bed and kicking the legs hard and fast is really helpful.

When a child has lost all self control there is still a part of their consciousness that knows and feels the presence of a calm loving adult. It isn’t always easy to be a witness to this kind of large emotional display but it is a natural part of childhood for many.

If your child is prone to tantrums you can help by being aware and teaching coping skills. When your child starts to show frustration you can suggest Five Big Deep Breaths. If there are signs of agitation and anger, suggesting that there be a run around the yard or a fast walk might help avert the big discharge of energy.

You won’t be able to divert all the melt downs but you will be teaching your child some valuable coping skills and also showing your unconditional love.

This link supports the general ideas stated here.

About The Author

Lois Olson

Founder of The Montessori Children's House Inc. Laramie, Wyoming Montessori Primary Certification 1973
Systematic Training for Effective Parenting facilitator certification
Thirty eight years of experience working with children ages 3-6
Twenty five years facilitating parenting groups
Ten years facilitating teacher training
B.A In Psychology

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