Grounding in the present moment and honestly listening to your child's need is probably the most efficient way to handle temper tantrums. Temper tantrums are a natural component of a child's emotional development affecting children between 18 months and 4 years of age. When your child is tired, irritated, frustrated, hungry or experiencing an emotion that he/she still can't express verbally, a temper tantrum can at times occur as a result. Setting healthy habits and clear boundaries may seem difficult at first. Acquiescing to the child is an easy way to put an end at the disruptive behavior.
As parents and educators, we have a significant role to play in supporting how our kids learn to cope with their emotions and develop self-control. The learning process requires patience, empathy and some peace of mind from the parent. These are tools that we may lack sometimes due to busy schedules and high stress levels. Therefore, we should view our children's tantrums as opportunities to evaluate emotions and breathe deeply.
What to do during a tantrum?
Be patient and remain calm. Responding with anxiety or anger will teach your child to react using negativity when facing stressful situations;
Hold space but do not give too much importance to the tantrum. Embrace the moment and gently redirect your child's attention to something else;
Privately explain to your child what healthy behavior is expected from him/her and why the tantrum is inappropriate. Do this while still encouraging him/her to verbally express emotion.
What to do to prevent a tantrum?
If your child is tired, sick or hungry, stay home!
Explain to your child the expected manners before entering a public space and be sure to have toys and a snack if going out for longer, especially if the place is not designed for children;
Be consistent when setting limits and building habits and do not forget to play a role model (take the saying "monkey see, monkey do" seriously!);
Maintaining a regular daily routine and sticking to the schedule will make the whole family's lives easier;
Be mindful that it is better to leave the place if you see that your child can't endure staying longer;
Help your child to verbalize his/her emotions.
The following videos have some great insights on understanding how to deal with your child's emotional storms with a loving and mindful perspective
Anticipating what your child's need (for example: rest, food, quite time, healthy limits, etc.) and learning how to communicate with calm and patience is crucial to better deal with emotional storms.
Holding space by being fully present and focused in the moment while listening to your child is a great strategy to deal with tantrums.
Empathy, well-set limits and clear boundaries are very helpful.
At Village Montessori, we hope this post can be helpful in guiding you to a loving perspective while dealing with your child's emotional storms. Always remember to breathe through and be mindful that your child is still too young to understand and control his/her emotions.
Take each tantrum moment as an excellent opportunity to teach your child and remember yourself how to cope with feelings of anger, frustration, fatigue, and so on.
Remember that when it comes to our contact with a child, everything we do is education!