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Everybody knows that temper tantrums and small children go hand in hand sometimes. These fits of screaming and tears help children cope with feelings and emotions that they are unfamiliar with and don’t yet have the tools to manage. Tantrums are especially prevalent during the “terrible twos”, the period around the age of two when children become very fussy and demanding. As a father, how can you deal with these tantrums so they don’t get out of control? Here is a roundup of nine tips to help you prevent and manage your child’s temper tantrums.
1. Set Aside Quality Time
When you set aside playtime or simply time spent with your child, you give them a shared experience that helps keep them calmer. It also gives them a foundation for managing and controlling their own emotions because that’s more time spent with their guardian—the one who sets an example for how to act.
2. Praise Good Behavior
Encouraging good behavior is much more effective than criticizing bad behavior. Make the effort to point out various good behaviors and praise them. This keeps the good ones coming and helps keep away bad ones.
3. Become a Good Role Model
Whether it is obvious or not, you should be aware that your child is watching everything you do. If you make a big deal out of small matters, they will too. Practice controlling your frustrations in your everyday life. Take deep breaths and admit when you’ve overreacted.
4. Avoid or Plan for Situations that Incite Tantrums
It’s possible to avoid situations that bring on temper tantrums, but you first need to understand why your child reacts this way. Have you noticed that your child suddenly gets very fussy in public? Do they cry in the grocery store or even at home when you disappear from view? Knowing what is setting off the tantrum will help you to prevent them or at least plan accordingly.
5. Don’t Reward Bad Behavior
You may think that criticizing or punishing bad behavior will discourage it, but in some instances, you are giving your child the attention they were looking for. Try ignoring your child when they act up if you can. Leave the room and let them get it out of their system. If you can’t do that, simply refuse to acknowledge the tantrum. Only intervene if they begin to hit, kick, or throw things.
6. Don’t Raise Your Voice
If you must speak to your child during the temper tantrum, don’t try to match the volume of their voice. Speak in soft but firm tones. This sends the message that you are paying attention, but you are not going to participate in the tantrum.
7. Create Diversions
The right diversion will calm your child and keep their mind off the situation that’s distressing them. Carry items with you that can serve this purpose, such as favorite toys, books, and snacks. This way, when your child starts acting up in the grocery store, you can “magically” pull out their favorite stuffed bunny or a small bag of crackers.
8. Offer Hugs, Snacks, and Naps
9. Leave the Place or Situation
It’s not always possible to just leave. You need to finish the grocery shopping, complete your errands, focus on driving, etc. But the sooner you can get your child out of the situation that’s distressing them, the better. If it’s a public place, cut your trip as short as you can. If it’s new people, excuse yourself to put your child down for a nap. If it’s being away from you that distresses them, try to limit the amount of time that you are out of their sight.
Everyone’s Happier When Temper Tantrums are Managed Effectively
Regardless of whether your child is experiencing the “terrible twos”, when they throw a tantrum, it makes everyone miserable. Your child is unhappy, you are frustrated, and passersby may be irritated or feel sorry for you. By knowing how to manage these tantrums, and maybe even prevent them altogether, you can have more peace in your family, both in your home and in public.
Lastly, if you have babysitter, it is always great to communicate and make sure your babysitter is dealing with this the same way you are so your kids don’t change their actions based on the person they are currently with. And overall its just great for parents and babysitter to be on the same page at all times!