Exasperated parents trying to calm their child who seems to be going through some pretty big emotions in the form of tantrums or meltdowns is a common occurrence. To support a child through these tantrums and meltdowns, parents must understand the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown.
Once you have identified what is going on with your child, you can then take steps to stop it in its tracks. In this article, we will cover how to handle tantrums.
A tantrum has the power to ruin the nicest experience be it a shopping trip or a visit to see grandpa! Parents usually give in to the tantrum to avoid the embarrassment or salvage the situation. And it leads children to believe that they will get whatever they want if they throw a tantrum now and then. The book How to manage a child’s temper tantrum mentions a way of saying ‘no’ to a child without really saying no. It is helpful because most people find it difficult to say no to children. This structure can also be used to reinforce boundaries with children.
Reassure your child that you understand how they feel by using empathetic language.
Then, explain the reasons behind saying no. Reinforce any existing rules you may have for a child.
Later, ask children to make a choice between two desirable options. It will help children feel more in control. You can pose it as a statement, your children need not respond to this.
Let children know that they will enjoy the same activity later. Remind them that they are not saying goodbye forever.
Staying calm throughout the tantrum may seem like a dream for most parents. A book, No-yelling Discipline For Children Aged 1-4: Specific Guides to Help Overcome Children’s Tantrum and Nurture Positive Behavior, by Michelle Vasque lists down a few tips that will help parents to stay calm during the tantrum.
Above all, congratulate yourself for staying calm after every tantrum. Keep mental notes of major tantrums to figure out if there are any patterns and to understand triggers. It will help you manage the tantrums better.
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“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She’s the only ‘Mekhala’ she knows, and she takes a bit of pride in that. She is a quintessential introvert. Mekhala loves tea but cannot make a good cup of tea and often ends up having coffee. She claims that she takes all adjectives as complements unless specified otherwise. Mekhala is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grade 2 & 3, as a part of Teach For India Fellowship. And has worked as an independent consultant for a couple of years.
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