How do we deal with tantrums & what can be done to stop a tantrum?
Tantrums are common but distressing for both the child and the adult looking after them so how do we deal with tantrums and what can be done to stop a tantrum?
Here’s some useful, easy to use tips to help reduce the stress that tantrums can cause in your household.
“Prevention is better than cure”
The first thing to do is focus on making sure your child is not:
This of course takes planning, ensuring you carry healthy snacks and that even if they aren’t great sleepers, they have plenty of quiet time away from screens.
Prepare them in advance for any change “....in 5 minutes we are going to....”
Tantrum is happening anyway?
And as parents we know this just isn’t always possible to juggle all of this, and tantrums can occur for other reasons too (e.g. when they are told no or when leaving somewhere)
Try these tips to help you cope
1. Stay calm - easier said than done we know especially the longer the tantrum goes on. If necessary (as long as your child is safe) if you feel yourself getting angry it is best to walk away, step away, turn your back on your child and breathe so you can return to being calm and then once you are turn back to your child.
2. Distract them - this often works best in the early stages. It’s amazing how spotting a fox out of the window can distract a child from a tantrum even if you spend the next 5 minutes staring through the window looking for an imaginary fox
3. Try humour - we aren’t suggesting you make fun of your child but sometimes in mild tantrums, humour can defuse the situation
4. Offer alternatives - I know you want to jump on the furniture but that’s not allowed but later we can jump on the trampoline
5. “Help them, don’t do” to diffuse frustration - tantrums can be born out not being able to do something e.g. their shoe laces, show them how to do this patiently without doing it for them.
6. Be consistent - don’t give in to demands just to save face in public or to avoid the tantrum because the child will think this is a means to get their own way.
Calmly (as possible) repeat your rule, let them know they won’t get what they want with their current behaviour and that you will talk about it when they’re calm
7. After they’ve calmed down hold them in your arms, so they feel safe and loved and talk about what made them so upset. Don’t discuss their behaviour but instead what caused it.
8. If your child is having lots of tantrums or you think they may actually be meltdowns (see our guide to the difference) then you might find the Red Hatch Programme really helps your little one break free from this behaviour.
This was the experience of another stressed parent:
“His meltdowns have become much less frequent and less upsetting for him, so he is coping with life in general much better.
This programme was amazing for us, what a difference! I'd highly recommend it if your child struggles with particular aspects of everyday life.”