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QUESTION & ANSWER
My 3 year old daughter has been throwing temper tantrums at home and in public. It is so frustrating and especially embarrassing when it in front of other people. I know sometimes I make it worse because I react with my own frustration.
What can I do to try to prevent het temper tantrums?
1) Count to 10
This give you a chance to calm down and respond to the situation appropriately. It also gives your child a warning that their behavior is not okay and gives them a chance to change their behavior.
2) Use Words or Phrases to help your child express her feelings.
It validates their feelings and lets them know you understand.
3) Teach your child to take a deep breathe – and take one yourself.
It has a calming affect for you and your child and allows you to stop and think before you respond.
4) Choose your battles Wisely
Say “NO” to the more important things. Try to avoid battling over the small stuff.
5) Follow Through
It is a must to follow through with what you tell your child. Especially with consequences of poor choices. If you child thinks for a second you won’t do what you say or that you will give in due to a tantrum, a tantrum will most than likely follow.
6) Stick to a Routine
Having a routime and predictable meal, snack, and nap times.
7) Use Positive Reinforcement
Reward children for Good Choices like calming down w/o a tantrum, putting toys away when asked, or brushing teeth and going to bed w/o a tantrum. It can be a reward system like going to a fun place after getting a certain number of stars for good choices. Just positive words like: thank you, great job, or Im proud of you are reinforcement enough.
8) Give a Warning Prior to ending a Fun Activity
Letting your child know that “We are going to have to leave in 5 minutes” helps get your child ready to transition.
9) Offer Realisitic Choices
Give your child real choices that you are willing to follow through with is key. When it’s naptime saying “Are you ready for your nap?” isn’t realistic unless you really plan to allow you child the choice to not take a nap. Instead simple say “It’s time for your nap.”
Giving them a choice between 2 snacks you approve of or 2 shirts they can wear are more realistic. Allowing your child choices gives them a sense of control they looking for.
10) Create a Diversion
Getting your child involved in something else helps distract them and prevent the tantrum they were about to have. If you are at the store and your child wants her favorite toy, try having her favorite snack on hand to offer her. Often times this will distract them and they will forget all about what they were just getting upset about.
Whenever I go out shopping with my kids I always bring a a few distractions such as: a couple of snacks and a toy/book I know they love. If they start getting whiny or upset because they want something they can’t have I offer what I brought.
Meghan, FL Experienced Mama
When we are out and about or visiting friends I always give my children a warning they we will be leaving soon. This is actually something I learned from my oldest pre-k class. They would say “STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.” Making sure all the children stopped and listened. They would even say “Put your hands on your head.” To make sure everyone heard them. Then they would annouce they had 1 minute left to play. My kids have caught on and it really works to get their attention and hear what is to come.
Nicole, Experienced Mama
When my daughter turned 4 I noticed a change in her tantrums. She would get so upset and anger. My pediatrician suggested that I talk it out with her. Giving her words like: I am mad, I upset, to describe her feelings. Sometimes they just don’t know how to express themselves. I would tell her it’s okay to be unhappy about having to leave a place or not get a toy at the store and she could express that. But it wasn’t okay to throw a fit. It definitely helped. Sometimes I would suggest that we could put a toy she liked on her birthday or Christmas list.
Jennifer, TX, Experienced Mama
I found that whenever my son was about to have a meltdown about something I could distract him by making him laugh. Whether is was by tickling him or making goofy faces, it would make him forget about what was upsetting him.
Samantha, NJ, Experienced Mama
I have always stuck to a daily schedule. Not to say we don’t steer away from here or there. But overall my child wake up around the same time, have meals, snacks, and bedtime around the same time every day. Their day is predictable and they know what to expect. I’m not saying they still don’t have tantrums but I do beleive it helps. My children are 3 and 5 and still take naps and go to bed without a fight. I swear our regular schedule has something to do with it.
Valerie, VA, Experienced Mama