The most common question we get at Under 5 is how to deal with tantrums. We’ve always believed that every child is different, some experience tantrums lightly and others push their parents to their LIMIT! So don’t compare your child to others, they’re not the same, and they don’t go through the same experiences. Before we start discussing how to deal with tantrums we need to understand first why they happen.
Tantrums happen when children are frustrated. The most common cause is that their minds are growing fast but they still can’t express what they feel. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you need something and it is right there in front of you, and you’re trying to talk but nobody is listening nor understanding. Very stressful, huh? This is what pushes them to the edge.
They’re also in a phase where they think they can conquer the world. They think they can do everything on their own just like mommy and daddy. And not giving them some control frustrates them.
Your child can be bored because you don’t always have energy to play with them and entertain them. They can be tired, but they don’t know that they are. They can be trying to get your attention. They can be jealous from their newborn sibling.We first need to analyze the cause to try and avoid it. And after that we learn how to deal with it.
The first step is always acknowledging their feelings. If they’re throwing a tantrum because they want the cell phone and it’s not allowed. You have to directly ask them “Do you want the phone?” this is when they will listen. When you acknowledge what they need. And then you will instantly suggest something else to do that would distract them.
The rule is you keep the NO things off their sight! They’re born very CURIOUS with a need to explore. Don’t ruin that inside them by saying no to everything. Let go of things that don’t have to do with their safety. They want to play with the pots? Leave them. Choose your battles wisely. Every action they do, develops them and their life skills. Let go. Your house doesn’t have to be as perfect as it was. Messy in this phase is perfectly healthy.
Give them control over some things. They want to wash their plastic plates? Buy them small steps and have them play with soap and water. They want to wear their very mismatching clothes? Leave them if it’s not too important. Always give them all the options that you agree on. So they end up choosing what you approve of.
When tantrums happen, depending on their cause, you either need to hug them and calm them down, or ignore them. If they’re too tired or frustrated, they probably need a hug. If they’re just being stubborn and screaming for no reason, you might need to give them a few minutes before you start talking. Always make sure that your touch is a comforting one. If you can’t control it, don’t touch them until you’re calm.