Tantrums and meltdowns from the children are one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. It’s normal to feel frustrated when your child throws tantrums or has a meltdown. It’s even more challenging when you don’t know how to handle the situation.
Note that tantrums and meltdowns are not the same and they require a different response. Understanding the difference can help with your response. Read on to learn the difference and what to do in each situation.
Is it a Tantrum or a Meltdown?
Identifying if your child is throwing a tantrum or having a meltdown is important. While they seem the same, they are quite different.
Tantrums occur when your child does not get what they want. Meltdowns, on the other hand, happen when your child is overwhelmed by emotions or the environment.
Why Children Throw Tantrums
Young children are still in the early stages of development. As a result, they are unable to express their feelings or communicate what they want.
This causes them to feel frustrated and they throw tantrums to express their dissatisfaction. Tantrums can occur when children are exhausted, hungry, or unhappy.
They may have a meltdown if they are unable to get what they want at that time. You may notice your child cry, scream and shout when they don’t get a toy.
At this stage, they also learn their actions have an impact on others. When they throw tantrums, they notice the adults around them act on them. It is simply their way of getting your attention to get what they want.
Over time, children develop the ability to deal with frustration. Tantrums and meltdowns begin to reduce as they learn language skills.
How to Handle Your Child’s Temper Tantrums
Tantrums should be viewed as an opportunity to learn about your child rather than a crisis. There is no definite method for handling temper tantrums in children.
But, there are many things you can do to enable good behavior in your child. This will help prevent future tantrums.
Below are ways to handle your child’s temper tantrums
Identify Tantrum Triggers
While this may seem difficult, it is possible. Look out for patterns when your child throws a tantrum. You may notice they get upset when they don’t get a particular thing or when they are hungry.
Because they can not communicate properly, this will help you know what they really want. Knowing why your child is frustrated is the first step to handling the situation.
Identifying triggers will also enable you to prepare ahead of time. You will know when your child is hungry and prepare ahead of time.
Ignore the Situation
You must understand that a tantrum is a tactic your child uses to get what they want. Throwing tantrums is not a behavior you should tolerate.
Children may throw tantrums if you refuse to give them a toy or buy them ice cream. Ignore the situation if they want something you don’t want to give.
Note that, you can only ignore the situation if they are out of physical harm. Don’t ignore the situation if the tantrum is a result of genuine needs like hunger or thirst.
This can only work in some instances and must not be the case all the time.
Create a Daily Routine
Create a daily routine for your child. This would enable them to know what to expect. Follow this routine as consistently as possible.
For instance, you can set a time for naptime, playtime, and bedtime. If your child is well-rested, tantrums will reduce.
Present Them With Choices
Sometimes, tantrums occur when your child needs options. You don’t always have to say ‘no’ to them. Present them with different alternatives they can choose from.
This will make them know you acknowledge their concerns.
Create a Calm Zone
Create a calm zone in your home. Explain to your child that it is a place for relaxation. Make your child go there to take a break whenever they are throwing a tantrum.
Reward Good Behavior
Reward your child for good behavior. This will in turn reinforce good behavior. They will understand that when they are well behaved, they get rewards for it.
Rewards could be in the form of words of praise, a long span of attention, and warm hugs. This will make them want to follow your direction instead of throwing tantrums.
Create a Distraction
Children have a short attention span and you could use this to your advantage. Distract them with something else.
This might take their minds off what is causing them to throw tantrums,
Give Them a Warning in Advance
Before you make them stop playing or take their toys away, give them a warning in advance. This will prepare them for what is to come.
Your child may throw a tantrum if you take their toys away without prior warning. Giving them a warning in advance makes them
Don’t Shout at Them
Because you feel frustrated when your child throws a tantrum, you may want to lash out. While this is an instinctive response, it will make matters worse.
Avoid raising your voice when your child is throwing a tantrum. Speak calmly to them. Take deep breaths or give your child a little space until you feel better.
Acknowledge Your Child’s Feelings
Your child’s feelings are valid even when they are acting up. Always be empathetic and talk to them about it.
Tell them you understand how they feel. Let them know they can express their feelings in a better way.
Don’t Feel Guilty
When your child is throwing a tantrum, they may say hurtful things like “I hate you”.
However, don’t feel guilty or take it personally, they are just frustrated and do not fully understand the weight of their actions.
Why Children have Meltdowns
Depending on the child, different circumstances can cause a meltdown. Fear and anxiety are examples.
Children have meltdowns when they receive too much on their senses. Sounds and sights can overstimulate the brain.
Children get overwhelmed while trying to process everything around them. When your child has a meltdown, they are dependent on you to help them feel better.
Meltdown is common in children with undiagnosed learning disabilities and those who have experienced trauma.
How to Handle Your Child’s Meltdowns
Handling meltdowns is more difficult than controlling tantrums. Recognizing the triggers will assist you in preventing an outburst.
However, the following steps can help you get your child to control their emotions.
Your child relies on you and to help them, you need to be patient. During a meltdown, your child does not have control over their emotions and actions.
Getting irritated will not help. If you are impatient, you will not be able to help them.
During a meltdown, your child is overcome with emotions. Say reassuring words to calm down and put them at ease.
Be empathetic to your child’s feelings. This will make them know they can trust you and are in a safe space.
The environment may be a trigger to your child’s meltdown. Taking your child out of the environment may help.
They need to feel safe and they may feel threatened by the environment.
If you are out in public, take your child to a more quiet place. The noise and crowd may be overwhelming to them. If you are home, take your child to a calm space, away from visitors. When you do, calm them down with soothing words.
Make Them Take Deep Breaths
Making your child take deep breaths can help during a meltdown. Taking deep breaths helps your child to feel relaxed and calm. It helps them regain control of their emotions.
Give them a hug
Your child depends on you to regain their emotions. Give them a warm hug when they are having a meltdown.
This will reassure them that you are there for them. They will feel at ease with your reassuring presence
When your child is having a meltdown, find creative ways to help them regain control. You could make them paint or draw how they feel.
This will help your child regain control of their emotions.
You can put on some goofy kid’s song or try a funny accent. If they find it funny, your child will giggle.
How Professional Day Care Can Help
Professional daycare services can offer help. Daycare activities can improve your child’s cognitive abilities. Your child will interact with other children.
Daycare improves children’s problem-solving abilities. This way, they will learn healthy ways to express their feelings.
At daycare, children make friends and learn skills that will benefit them. Children learn to resolve conflicts and share their feelings. This will help improve their communication skills.
Are you looking for a professional daycare in Austin, Texas? Happy Bunnies is the place to be. We offer full-time child care from Monday to Friday. You can also book half-day sessions. Contact us to make inquiries or book an appointment to take a tour of our facilities.