Tantrums are a normal part of a child’s development, it’s difficult to manage your feelings when you find it difficult to make your needs understood and you want what you want now!
What can be done to support your child?
Choose times for activities that will not interrupt their nap times. A tired child is not able to deal with situations, just like us they may be grumpy, emotional and activities they normally enjoy becoming the worst thing ever! How often have you heard parents say, ‘but you usually love swimming/the park etc.
Be aware of when the tantrums happen, are they often linked to the same event/time of day? If so, can this be changed in some way, what is it that they dislike so much.
Be ready with distractions , take some toys/books with you when you go out, make the activity fun by playing a game, sing to them, I worked in a fantastic nursery quite a few years ago where there were a number of children with challenging behaviour, all transitions began with a song , tidy up time song, group time song, changing nappy song etc and it was very effective .If you don’t have a good singing voice it doesn’t matter ,it gets their attention in a positive way and can be used for learning, make up your own songs.
Give a 5-minute warning, you could use a visual aid such as an egg timer or sand timer. As an adult we know what is coming next, but children have no control of this, and it can be frustrating to suddenly have to stop what you’re doing. Give them the opportunity to finish, but expect them then to do the transition, possibly with some distraction if needed.
Ignore behaviour that can be ignored, it can start to feel very negative for everyone if there are constant battles, in other words, choose your battles.
The key is to be consistent, for example, if your child is allowed to take all the cushions off the sofa and make a den one day, you cannot then tell them off the next day for doing the same thing.
Some behaviour such as hurting themselves or others or breaking items cannot be ignored. Move the situation away from them or if you can’t do that move them away from the situation. Give your child some time to cool down either with you sitting by them or in a safe space where you can see them. Do not have toys available and limit interactions. When they have cooled down give them a minute or two (this can feel like forever for a child) so no longer. Depending on the age of the child it may be appropriate for the child to say sorry. Then carry on with the day.
Praise your child for all the brilliant things they do
‘Thankyou Poppy for getting me the book’
‘Poppy you tried so hard to put on your coat’
‘Poppy I saw you give Maisy the toy that was very kind’
Help children to be responsible, use a warm voice, look pleased and give eye contact, make them feel happy about the positive behaviour.
It is better to give praise for positive attention and your child to get used to this. The more positive praise you give, the less they will seek attention for doing negative things.
We want our children to learn to cooperate because they want to. Remember they observe how we interact with them and others. Be consistent, clear and fair. If you respond in anger to negative behaviour, how would you expect your child to respond to you?
Stay calm, use a firm voice and DO have your own emotions under control.
As always, if you’re experiencing any problems with your little ones sleep, please do get in touch for a free 15 minute chat – We would love to help!