My daughter was born with a head of fiery red hair. The color of her hair only intensified as she grew older, and unfortunately the stereotype of rotten tempers with red hair reigns true with my child. When she was younger, the tantrums were much easier to deal with. She could be easily distracted with a toy or a song, and move on from whatever had upset her rather quickly.
Now it seems these tantrums drag on forever. She will get upset, drop to the ground and throw a blood curling screaming fit over something so tiny and trivial that lasts for an upwards of twenty minutes.
The inspiration for this post? I dared to put sunscreen on her porcelain skin before we headed outside. Then she didn’t want an elastic for her out of control hair she refused to let me brush. Then she didn’t want to wear her hat. A+B+C= half an hour of screaming.
So how do we deal with this without losing our sanity?
Working in childcare has given me a bit of an advantage on how to find the most effective way to deal with every tantrum. It’s a matter of determining what works and what doesn’t as per their personality type. I’ve tried countless other methods of dealing with my child’s tantrum behavior, but the one I find is most effective for my daughter is ignorance. Once she gets into a tantrum mood, there is no releasing her from this tantrum mood until she releases the pent up energy within.
So I just let it happen. The easiest way for her to release the frustration is to release the anger through whatever means feel right to her at this point. In a safe environment, just let your child do it. Scream, stomp their feet, throw themselves to the ground… the sooner they release that energy, the quicker they are able to remove the tension and calm down. Just ignore the tantrum from a safe distance and all will be well in the end. If they pull that crap in a public place like a grocery store? Bring the cart to customer service, apologize profusely and say you will be right back. Bring the child outside to a nice grassy area or to the car and let them live out the tantrum.
Another method of dealing with the tantrum is reasoning. Reason with your child and give them a choice. If they’re upset because they feel like something isn’t fair, have a conversation with them about why they don’t think it’s fair. Ask them what would be a better solution and see if you can meet them in the middle. Sometimes with older children, brainstorming a solution together will make them feel like they have a say, and that alone will help them calm down.
Giving a choice is another way to help a child avoid or delay a tantrum. Giving them two options that YOU decide are fair, and letting them choose one lets you both win. In conjunction with the method above, this way they feel they have a choice and get what they want, but at the same time you actually get what you want and they’re none the wiser.
Sometimes a child doesn’t know why they feel the way they do, and they just need some reassurance. Physical touch may be the solution you’re looking for. A hug, a pat on the shoulder or a hand to hold while walking may be the physical contact they crave. It gives them some reassurance that you’re not upset, and this thought alone helps them remain calm.
The final method that has worked for me in the past is redirection. When all else fails, redirect. Try and grab their attention with something else. Get out a toy they haven’t seen in a while, flip on a movie, start dancing to some music, grab a snack or pull out some coloring stuff. A distraction will work most of the time and the child will eventually forget why they were upset.
I hope some of these methods help you out! Which ones have you used effectively? Message me directly or comment down below!