18 Ways to Manage Your Child's Tantrums

18 Ways to Manage Your Child's Tantrums

We all need a little help when it comes to keeping up with our little ones on a rough day. When we're in the thick of it with a wailing babe it can be difficult to keep our cool. But it's time to face the facts: All kids have meltdowns. We've all had the moment of blinding frustration when we can't effectively communicate to our kids to stop acting up, and it can sometimes feel easier to just give in. Well, if you're looking for a little insight into how to tame your kid's tantrums, or want to cut down on the behaviors, try out some of these tips, take a deep breath, and hope for the best!

1. It's okay to ignore them.

When your child gets extra attention while they're having a tantrum, you can bet they'll try again bigger and louder the next time. Keep your lips sealed, avoid eye contact, and don't engage them until they calm down. Grab a snack. This could take a while.

2. Reinforce good behaviors as much as possible!

See them sharing well with others? Great job sweetie! See them help clean up before bed? That helps mommy so much! When your child recognizes that they get verbal recognition for being good they'll want to keep it up. 

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3. Simple language helps a lot when kids are melting down.

Using easy to follow logic like, "First we eat lunch, then we go outside," helps them by making a timeline. If they can understand the chain of events, they'll probably be better at accepting your terms.

4. It's okay to give them a little space when they're throwing a fit.

Removing them from where they got set off can work wonders. Put them in their room, dim the lights, and let them know they are welcome to come out when they've calmed down. Have a smaller babe who can't let you know how they're feeling? It's okay to let them have some quiet time in the crib for a minute. Even if that means letting them cry in their crib for 10 minutes

PC: care.com
PC: care.com

5. When you offer a child choices it can be another way to shorten the tantrum.

When their choices are narrowed between one or two things, they will more easily be able to recognize which option they want. "Either you calm down and we go to the park tonight, or you keep crying and we'll have to stay inside. Your choice."

6. Putting a time limit on the child's behaviors can also help to settle the matter.

Giving them two minutes to cry and calm down, and then letting them know you expect them to be tear free can help them understand your expectations. Invest in an egg timer or a cheap hourglass to help them visualize how long they have to work it out.

7. Getting down to their level and speaking in a calm, quiet tone can do wonders for a child's tantrum.

And it may not feel like that in the moment, because as we all know that can send a lunatic into a frenzy faster than just about anything else. But your child will respond to your soothing tones, and recognize that when they are yelling or crying you won't be able to talk to them.

8. Recognize your babe's body language to try and stop a tantrum from starting or escalating.

If you notice that your child is starting with the quick, heavy breathing, or the red face of terror, step in and remind your child the correct way to deal with their frustrations and feelings.

9. Why not try asking your child if they want to help you with something else to try and distract them from what they're flipping out about.

If you're at home maybe suggest they help you get the mail from outside. If you're at the grocery store you could ask them to help you choose a yummy cereal, or maybe what they would want for lunch tomorrow.

10. Offering your child an incentive for good behavior is not spoiling them.

Letting them know that they will be rewarded for good behavior is good preparation for the real world. Depending on the frequency of the fits, you could let them know at the beginning of the week what they can look forward to on the weekend, or at the beginning of the day what they can look forward to that evening. Once the tantrums decrease, make sure they know you're expecting more from them to get a reward. 

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11. Offering your child a hug or cuddling up to read a book together can sometimes snap them out of the tantrum.

Even as adults we can all understand how a little human contact can help us feel better when we're sad, and our babes are the same way. Hug it out, give them a bunch of sweet kisses, and let them know that everything will be alright.

12. When you're feeling your cheeks burn in public because of an out of control child, do your best to shake it off.

If you feel like every parent is judging you just smile it off, and ignore them. Letting your child know who's in charge will help set a precedent that even if they cry or scream you're the one at the helm.

13. Make sure you check all your babe's boxes.

Clean diaper? Hungry or thirsty? Tired? Hurt? Sometimes all our little one needs is a quick snack to shake them out of their terrible tantrum. You could even ask them for help choosing between a couple of healthy snacks to get their mind off the situation. 

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14. If your child isn't speaking yet the tantrums can be downright frustrating for both of you.

You may want to consider teaching your child sign language if they are having frequent meltdowns. Sometimes our kids just get mad, because we're not understanding what they need or want. Sign language can help during the developmental period when children can understand words but not speak them yet.

15. If your child has a tendency to have tantrums during the same activities or while doing the same thing you may want to address the behavior before it starts.

By saying something like, "Yesterday we had a really hard time when we were playing with trains, so today we may need to put them away if you can't be kind and share," you let your child know that you are watching them and that you will be stepping in.

16. If your child's tantrum or behavior is going to hurt themselves or another child (or even you) it can be helpful to scare them out of the behavior.

If you have a biter on your hands that will chomp on someone when she doesn't get her way, you can yell, "STOP" loud enough to make your babe jump. Once they've stopped, you can step in and remove the child from the situation.

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17. Giving your child a time out is another way to make sure they understand that their behavior is unacceptable.

I like to call time outs "breaks" instead. It lets the child know that they sometimes need a break from the situation both mentally and physically. You can either have them in their room, sitting on the stairs, or like me growing up, in the metal black chair. Make sure you aren't keeping your little one in the break for too long. Usually a minute for every year of their age is a good rule to follow. 

18. Be consistent!

Your child is smart, and they will notice when you cave in on Tuesday and throw the hammer down on Saturday. The more reliable your methods, the less likely your child will continue to throw fits or increase the intensity of those behaviors.

As parents we get the unique opportunity to decide how our children will be taught how to behave, what is appropriate, and what isn't. Our babes need us to set the standards for good behavior. When our kids throw tantrums it's easy to question why we ever thought we were qualified to have kids, but keep your head up and remember that every child will go through their ups and downs with testing boundaries. You got this!


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