20090803

Soothing solutions for your tantrum bound child

Tantrums are a normal outlet for the frustrated toddler. Here are some simple solutions to address the emotional fury:

  • Take a time out. Brief time alone, allows your child to regroup and allows you to regain perspective and control.


  • Have a tickle-fest. Laughter is a great distraction and makes everyone feel better.


  • Breathe deeply. In a calm moment, show your child how to pretend she's blowing out a birthday candle, then, the next time your child starts to become upset, you can use a simple code word like 'candle' to remind her to take a breathing break. Slow deep breathing shuts down your own internal emergency signals. Doing this begins to calm your body's arousal system.


  • Use words
  • . The great mediators and negotiators use words to diffuse tricky situations. You can use words to help your child find the right words for their frustration. Smaller children that still are unable to string sentences together to verbally express their emotions are relieved to hear that you empathize with and understand their situation. Verbally announcing your own emotions validates your feelings and clarifies that you need to stop engaging with the kids for the moment.

  • Tap into your creative side. Have your children draw a picture using crayons and paper to describe how she feels. This is a healthy way to express emotion and it lets her know that you're paying attention. You can even find a creative way to express your frustrations with your children (blog it and hopefully your readers will offer sympathy, support, and suggestions).


  • Offer a reward. An extra incentive doesn't hurt when children are learning to control their behavior. For example, try putting a marble in a jar each time your child calms down before having a tantrum. Promise your child that when the jar has ten marbles ITS FUN TIME! Could be a trip to the bowling alley, the fun pizza place, or a movie. Be sure to follow through with your promise so that your child can trust you to keep your word. Keep a marble jar for yourself so that you can reward yourself for staying calm while your child throws that flaming trantrum.


  • Count to ten. Counting warns your child that their behaviour is unacceptable without requiring you to launch into a lecture. It also gives some time for your child to transition from one activity to another. The focus you need to slowly count to ten in the midst of a battle with your kid enables you to ratchet down your anger a few notches. And it buys you time.


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