ANSWER: IGNORE THEM! You can’t rationalize with a child or teach them anything when they are in the middle of a tantrum so ignoring the moment works! Kids quickly learn that their screaming and tantrums often work to get them what they want so they begin to use them if they think it will work. So often kids start screaming and the second they get what they want it stops….like someone turned off a light switch!
Most of the time tantrums are just to get what they want. Sometimes they come when they’re frustrated and trying to learn something new (i.e. putting a piece in a puzzle). But no matter what the cause, you can’t do anything during a tantrum.
When they start to tantrum, you need to use what is often called “active ignoring”. That’s ignoring in a way most people have never ignored!
The second the tantrum starts:
• Look away. Don’t make any eye contact or look at your child.
• Don’t say a word!
• If your child is on something unsafe, move them! For example, if he is on a couch and he starts throwing himself around, lift him up and lay him on the floor and start the ignoring.
• Walk away. If it’s safe to leave them, walk out of the room. If you have to be there, just go to another part of the room.
When the tantrum is over:
• Don’t go rushing to hug your child and start talking right away. If your child comes to you, you can hug, of course but you don’t need to start talking until he is really calmed down.
• Sometimes you think it’s over and the screaming starts again. Just begin the ignoring again.
• If this tantrum was because he wasn’t getting what he wanted, you really don’t have to say anymore. He’s just going to learn that his “technique” doesn’t work! The tantrums will come less frequently and be of a shorter duration each time.
• If your child had a tantrum due to frustration, you can teach your child how to do what he was frustrated about. (Wait until he is calm, of course!) If it’s a puzzle piece, you could show him how to turn it to fit. If it’s blocks that fell down you could show him to laugh and rebuild. If he is able to talk, teach him to come ask for help. If he’s just learning, work with him on learning the word “help” or even making an “h” sound. When he knows that his words help solve problems, it’s very encouraging!
The most important thing with tantrums that are due to not getting his way is to IGNORE! Don’t be tempted to talk and don’t be tempted to look! The idea here is to let him know it has no power and it’s not going to work!
If this occurs in public it can be very embarrassing but just do what you have to do. If he is sitting in a shopping cart, just stand at the other end of the cart until it stops. You could find an “empty” aisle if possible, or steer your cart over to an outer wall where there are usually less people. It’s awful while it’s happening, but after a few times, he will realize it doesn’t work and doesn’t get him what he wants! Better to get the problem behavior out of the way now than endure years of tantrums and demanding behavior!
HAVE FUN WITH YOUR CHILD:
Young At Art
The new museum is amazing! Imagination Activation!
At YAA, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Ride a subway, visit a cave and discover a dig in ArtScapes. STOMP to the rhythm, build sand sculptures and recycled puppets in GreenScapes. Learn about faraway customs in CultureScapes. Explore the world of Alice in WonderScapes. Create a masterpiece in every gallery!
751 SW 121st Ave. Davie, FL 33325 954-424-0085. http://youngatartmuseum.org/
For More Parenting Tips, Article and Parent Questions Visit Me On:
KIDS HELPING KIDS: Enjoy this blog by an 9 year old girl! Kids can really teach parents too!
HAVE MORE FUN WITH YOUR CHILD:
Check Out A Great Calendar of Events for Kids at: