When your kid’s in the middle of a tantrum, it can be tough to keep yourself from having your own meltdown, too.
“Young kids—namely those between the ages of 1 and 4—haven’t developed good coping skills yet. They tend to just lose it instead,” Ray Levy, Ph.D., a Dallas-based clinical psychologist explains. Every single tantrum results from one simple thing: not getting what they want.
For children between the ages of 1 and 2, tantrums are often about them trying to communicate a need e.g., more milk, a diaper change, etc., but not having the language skills to do it yet. For older toddlers, tantrums are more of a power struggle. By the time kids are old enough to be in daycare, they have grown more autonomous and therefore, are more keenly aware of their desires and needs—and want to assert them more.
So how can you handle these outbursts?
As a preschool in Youngsville, Louisiana we are giving you tips on how to talk to your little one when they are feeling a little misunderstood and frustrated.
- Look for opportunities to point out his/her good behaviors, even the small ones. The more favorable attention he gets for the desired behavior, the more likely he is to do it again.
- Model healthy ways to handle frustration in the heat of the moment, such as taking deep breaths.
- Confess after you lose your temper by saying something like, “Oh, Mom really overreacted.” Your child needs to see and hear that it’s okay to make a mistake sometimes.
- Ignore him unless he is physically endangering himself or others. By taking away your attention completely, you won’t reinforce his undesirable behavior.