Nothing is worse than when your child hits that lovely age of three (forget terrible twos, people - it’s terrifying threes!) and they begin to throw tantrums that have you believing that they have been possessed by some otherworldly being. And that's why you need some ways to curb temper tantrums.
As you watch your child wondering if their head is going to rotate or not, you may be thinking to yourself, “Who is this and how can I make it stop?” Most parents will resort immediately to bribery. Now I am not completely opposed to bribery, but I do not use this as my go to. It doesn’t teach your child that there is a negative consequence for their action, only rewards. I don’t know about you, but my boss would not give me a tasty sucker if I threw my report around the room because he asked me to re-do it.
Here are 4 ways to curb temper tantrums. You can tweak them to fit the needs of your child because every child is sensitive to a different degree. Use your judgment and go from there!
1 Leave the Area
If you are in a restaurant, a store, a park, etc, leave the area. Yes, you may desperately need the milk, and leaving the store is not the easiest. It will teach your child that you mean it. If they are screaming because they want a candy or to play on a certain toy, you remove that option from them. Then when they calm down, you explain that they did not get to have that choice to use or get whatever the desired thing was due to how they behaved. Then explain what the good behavior would look like. This is one of the best ways to curb temper tantrums.
2 Group Reward Others
This is one that usually kills parents. Most people are familiar with group punishment - because Johnny did A now everyone is not allowed to do B. This, however, is a nice twist on this. If you happen to have more than one child it really works beautifully. If your child is throwing a tantrum, then you take away the reward from them. This means your other kids may get to go to McD’s and get an ice cream and the tantruming child gets nothing. Again, here is where that calm clear explanation to the child about why they were not included, and how to earn it next time is so vital.
3 Object Timeout
Maybe your child is totally unphased by timeout. They use it as a mini vacation from you. If your child is tantruming over a toy or object, then you remove the toy and place it on a high, out of reach shelf. Make sure they can see it. At my house, we have an impound lot for Lightening McQueen. The toy/object goes into time out or in our case the impound lot until the desired behavior is achieved. SO if we are throwing a fit, because we really want to ram the car into the wall and then was told no, that special car goes away for either a 10-minute time-out or until we can stop tantruming and use our words to chat.
4 Happy Face, Sad Face
Being a kid can be hard. You are learning emotions and how to deal with them. Some kids need a visual. Make a chart that has happy faces and sad faces. When you ask your child to do something, and they do it without a meltdown, they get a smiley face. If they tantrum, a sad face. Make it a game, or a fun thing to do and give a reward at the day's end. Rewards don’t have to be a pricey thing. Maybe the prize is an extra story at bedtime, or getting 10 minutes to stay up past bedtime. With the chart, they can visually track their behavior and see if they are making it. You can modify this and also use beans in a jar with a happy face or a sad face and see which is fuller.
Hopefully, these will give you a few options to get through those fun tantruming years!