Tantrums can be aggravating for any parent. Here at Sharon Baptist Head Start, we’ve witnessed a variety of tantrums at various levels. However, tantrums should be viewed as educational opportunities rather than disasters. This is because young children are still in the early stages of social, emotional, and language development and are learning that their behavior affects others.
When responding to a tantrum, keep your cool. Don’t add to the problem by expressing your dissatisfaction or fury. Remind yourself that your role is to teach your child to calm down.
Tantrums should be treated differently depending on the cause of your child’s distress. You may need to provide comfort at times. In other instances, it is preferable to ignore an outburst or divert your child’s attention to a new activity.
During a tantrum, children who are in danger of injuring themselves or others should be moved to a quiet, safe place to calm down. This is also true for outbursts in public places. Use a time-out if there is a safety issue and your child continues to engage in the forbidden behavior after being told to stop. Don’t succumb to your child’s tantrums. This will only show your child that the tantrums were effective.
Create a “calm down” zone in your home, some teachers use this in preschool in New York, as well. Encourage your child to go the spot when he or she is angry or upset — not as a punishment, but as a choice and an opportunity to learn to manage frustration.