Hell hath no fury like that of an angry child! Tantrums in children are as unpredictable as they come. A trip to the grocery store can result in a crisis as bad as any major disappointment if it involves a child who didn’t get what he wanted. Tantrums, as unmanageable as they seem, are a completely normal part of growing up. These emotional upheavals can occur at any time of the day and anywhere. And while “Shh, shut up now!” » might not work, there are many ways to deal with tantrums on the spot.
What are tantrums?
Tantrums are intense, uncontrolled expressions of anger, frustration, or other negative emotions in children ages 1 to 4 years old. They are part of a child’s normal development and can be triggered by factors such as fatigue, hunger, changes in routine, frustration or a desire for independence, says psychologist Dr Imran Noorani. He says these tantrums can be a call from the little ones to be heard and understood by the elders.
What causes tantrums?
Whether it’s fatigue, hunger, overstimulation, a change in routine, lack of freedom, inability to communicate what they want, the list goes on! All of these, or even just one of them, can cause a tantrum.
“Children often get frustrated when they can’t do something they want, and they can become even more irritable when they aren’t allowed to do things for themselves. Overstimulation can be caused by excessive sensory input, changes in routine, or a lack of autonomy. Communication problems, sensory sensitivities, physical discomfort, setting boundaries, attention seeking, and unfamiliar environments can also trigger tantrums,” adds Dr. Noorani.
Read also : No means no! 7 times you have to say this to your child
When do children learn to control their anger?
Over time, as children develop emotionally, these tantrums tend to fade, or at least lessen in severity. “As children grow, they develop better emotional regulation skills and become more capable of managing them. The timeline for improving their ability to handle tantrums is from early childhood to school age,” says Dr Noorani.
Once in preschool, these little ones are able to understand better, speak better and communicate better. “Parental coaching and modeling effective emotional regulation strategies are crucial to helping children manage their tantrums,” he adds.
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5 ways to deal with tantrums in children
Well, as impossible as it may seem, there are ways to control tantrums in children – whether the child is demanding toys or being a picky eater! Here are five proven ways parents can ensure a tantrum subsides quickly.
1. Stay calm and patient
This may seem impossible, but it’s actually very effective. “Children often throw tantrums to get a reaction, so staying calm can help defuse the situation. Take deep breaths, count to ten, or step out of the room briefly if necessary to collect yourself,” says Dr. Noorani.
2. Learn to anticipate triggers
Prevention is better than cure, especially in this case! Pay attention to what tends to trigger tantrums in your child. Is it hunger, fatigue, frustration or a particular environment? By identifying these triggers, you can respond to them proactively. For example, make sure your child eats and naps regularly and avoid situations that you think may lead to tantrums.
3. Use positive reinforcement
” You understood ! “, ” excellent work “. These are affirmations that work wonders with children. Reinforce good behavior with positive attention and praise. But how does this fit into a tantrum? Dr. Noorani says that when your child behaves well or calms down after a tantrum, offer praise and affection. This helps teach them that positive behavior is more likely to get attention than tantrums.
4. Establish Clear Boundaries and Expectations
Set your limits! Establish clear and consistent rules for your child’s behavior, but make sure they are age-appropriate. Be clear, use simple language, but also offer choices when possible. It gives them a feeling of control.
5. Redirect and distract
When you sense a tantrum brewing, try redirecting your child’s attention elsewhere. Offer them a different toy or activity or engage them in conversation about something they like. Distraction can be an effective tool for defusing tantrums before they escalate, says Dr. Noorani.