It is hard for children to contain strong feelings, so when they feel angry or frustrated with themselves or others, they often scream, cry, or stomp up and down. Temper tantrums are a normal part of child development, and usually start around the age of 1-2 years, escalate between 2 and 3 years, and then gradually taper off after that.
Although these sudden outbursts can be very upsetting for all concerned, especially in public, it is important that you learn how to manage them and teach your child to channel his/her anger appropriately, like through words. Public tantrums can catch you off guard, causing you to give in to the child to avoid any embarrassment. But this is not right. Instead, stay calm and:
Give them a moment
Scientists claim that during tantrums, the child is out of their mind – literally. This means that the area of the brain that deals with judgement and decisions has been overrun with emotion, and reasoning with your child won’t work. In other words, nothing you do at that moment will work. So, give him/her a minute or two to calm down if the meltdown is not too upsetting for other people.
Create a diversion
Try to get your child interested in something else that will draw them away from the cause of the outburst. You should consider carrying a new toy, book, or yummy snack that your child loves but hasn’t seen in awhile. Alternatively, you can suggest shopping for ice cream, or some other activity that will completely distract your child.
Empathise and hug them
It is hard for children under 2 years to express themselves, especially since their vocabulary is so limited. When your child is about to have a meltdown, hug or hold them until the tantrum subsides, and then “play detective” to find out the cause. A hug will make them feel secure and loved, even when they know that what they’re doing is not right.
Give them an incentive to behave
There are some situations that are too trying for children to go through them calmly, such as staying quiet in a library or still in a moving vehicle. You should be able to recognise when you are expecting too much from your child, and incentivize them to hold on a little longer with a reward at the end. The reward could be play time, watching time, a snack, or anything that is enticing enough.
Finally, when your child starts a temper tantrum in a quiet place, immediately get away from the scene. A change of environment could be enough to calm down your child.
At Childventures, we offer a calming environment that can help your children through any situation. Contact us to book a tour of our facility and see for yourself.