In a perfect world, children would come with an instruction manual. and possibly 24/7 customer support. However, in THIS world (wonderful as it may be, yet still imperfect) We are left to figure this out on our own. Now, I know there a TONS of articles on tantrums. They cover every area in the spectrum, from super strict to super passive, a while I will NEVER tell a person how to raise their child, I will say the majority of moms are somewhere in the middle. Not super strict, but also not complete pushovers. It is because of this I feel I can give some tips on handling tantrums. Please understand, these are tips… ideas, not guarantees. I try to use these, but I also find myself either giving in at times, or being more strict other times. I’m human, “But Dad” is human, YOU are human… cut yourself some slack, but do try these tips (when you think of it).
- Control the situation BEFORE it get out of hand. This is one I tend to have trouble with. I always want to give Kira the benefit of the doubt. The 3 strike rule if you will, except, there is no clear definition (in my mind anyway) or what counts as a “strike”. I have been trying to do better though at not letting her get too out of hand. This is also especially important when you are out and about. Getting a hold of the child before they hurt themselves, or run away from you is a MUST!!!
- Time-out. This is one we try to use often when Kira pushes our buttons. She knows certain things are NOT allowed and she tends to do them often. We use her old pack n play as her “Time Out box”. The purpose is to calm the child down, they WILL cry, depending on the age they may not even understand the whole “think about what you’ve done” routine we normally associate with a typical time out, but that is okay. Once they are calm, then they can come out and try it again.
- Consistency. This is another big one. Staying consistent (which can be hard for some of us) will help children learn what is and what is not acceptable. If you are inconsistent even 1 time, the child will sense that and you will have a battle of wills on your hands until you again establish consistency.
I have read and heard all of these before, and they do work (some of the time). I also find these tips are good for avoiding tantrums all together.
- Know their schedule. This means, feed them BEFORE they get beyond hungry, make sure they get naps and don’t try to push their schedule to include more than they can handle. We have recently been very busy with play dates and Dr appointments and family events, one thing we do is allowing the child to sleep in the car, and sleep until they wake up. We may do a play date late morning, and then have a Dr appointment later that afternoon. If it doesn’t involve the child, they get to sleep through it. For some of you this would be easier, as the child would stay home with the other parent or a babysitter, however since I don’t drive, Nick stays in the car with whichever kid(s) isn’t involved, and lets them sleep.
- Plan a fun activity when you will need them occupied. This means, when I need to research or write a blog post, my daughter is usually doing something fun that she doesn’t always get to do. Right now this usually means coloring with washable markers in her high chair. It keeps her busy, and she doesn’t feel left out or neglected.
- Spend time with them. If you don’t spend time with them, they WILL act up. They WANT your attention. I try to carve out some time in the morning AND time in the afternoon to spend playing whatever Kira wants. Some days it is reading, some days it’s playing with her baby, or her farm, and some days it is watching an episode of Sheriff Callie’s Wild West. But whatever we are doing, it is me and her spending time together.
I hope these tips help you when dealing with tantrums. My final tip here is take some “Me time”. When you feel relaxed, your child will sense this and that will show in how they act. I promise if you are stressed, they will use that against you.
How do YOU deal with tantrums??? Comment and tell us below.