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Taming Temper Tantrums
How to Stop Tantrums Before They Start
- Knowing your child and his limits
- Offering your child choices to provide him with a sense of control of his environment
- Praising your child for positive behavior
- Keeping objects that spark temper tantrums out of sight, such as a complex puzzle he or she finds frustrating
- Picking your battles and accommodate your child when the request is reasonable
- Offering age-appropriate toys
Temper Tantrum Tips
- Keep Your Cool—Shouting or getting angry will prolong your child's tantrum. If your child is in a safe environment, you can leave the room and return after you have regained your calmness.
- Investigate—Spend time understanding why your child is getting upset to determine if he or she needs comfort, for example.
- Use Distractions—Redirect your child by asking him or her to play a game, read a book, or play with a toy. Changing locations, such as going outside, may also help distract your child.
- When to Ignore—Minor displays of anger, such as crying, screaming, or kicking can be ignored. However, if this happens in a public place, you should take your child home or to another location, such as your car.
- When to Respond—While some behaviors can be ignored, others must be responded to immediately, such as hitting or kicking someone or throwing items. Stay firm and communicate that these are not acceptable behaviors.
- Encourage Breaks—When your child can't be reasoned with, it's best to have him take a short break. After the break, talk over what happened.
What To Avoid
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry http://www.aacap.org/
Canadian Institute of Child Health http://www.cich.ca/
Kids Health & Safety Healthy Canadians http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/init/kids-enfants/index-eng.php
Temper tantrums. HealthyChildren.org website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/pages/Temper-Tantrums.aspx. Updated May 19, 2011. Accessed August 11, 2012.
Temper tantrums. KidsHealth.org website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/tantrums.html. Updated January 2012. Accessed August 11, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian P. Randall, MD
- Review Date: 08/2012
- Update Date: 08/11/2012