If you are a parent or caregiver of a child over the age of one, then it is most likely that you have experienced some epic tantrums and when they are in public, it can be the worst.
What are tantrums?
Tantrums are explosions of anger and a form of reacting when a child doesn’t have the ability to cope with certain situations.
Tantrums may include
- Kicking and stamping
- Crying, screaming and yelling
- Rolling on the ground
- Arching back and stiffening limbs
- Falling down
- Running away
- Banging head
- Holding breath and vomiting (in extreme cases only.)
Reasons tantrums may occur
Tantrums are more likely to occur if children are tired, hungry, sick or overstimulated.
Identifying triggers to try and avoid tantrums
Certain situations such as shopping, or visiting family or friends can often be triggers for a tantrum.
If possible, try and avoid taking your child places where they will tantrum but as this is not always possible, here are some strategies to help prevent tantrums from happening.
Be organized and bring some activities which will keep them engaged and distract them from the things that trigger the unwanted behaviour.
Try to avoid taking your child places when they are tired or hungry and if you have to bring them, bring lots of snacks and their comfort item if they have one.
Try not to prolong these visits and be realistic with your expectations.
When a tantrum occurs
When a tantrum occurs, stay calm (or pretend to.)
If you get angry, you could inflame the situation and contribute to making the tantrum worse.
If you need to speak, speak calmly. You may like to remind your child that you are here for them when they are ready and you are available for a cuddle when they would like one. This will hopefully prevent the tantrum from becoming more explosive and will reassure them that they have your support.
Wait out the tantrum
Try to ignore the behaviour until it stops. Once a tantrum is in full swing, it’s too late for reasoning and in most cases distraction. It’s just a matter of waiting it out.
If you try to reason with your child during a tantrum, your child most likely won’t be in the mood to listen or may not even have the ability to listen and you may run the risk of rewarding their unwanted behaviour if you give them attention.
Keep your sense of humour
When your child throws themselves on the floor in the middle of the supermarket and it seems like every man and his dog is staring your way, try to keep your sense of humour. Just remember that most of these people have probably done the same thing when they were that age.
Finally, just remember that your child/children will grow out of this stage when they learn to communicate their needs and express their emotions in a more mature manner.
Hang in there, you’ve got this!
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