The truth is, no matter how well-behaved a child is, he or she is bound to throw a tantrum at some point in their childhood.
To effectively help them through the meltdown, we need to understand the reason behind this behaviour.
Why Kids Have Tantrums
Temper tantrums are common in boys and girls, between the ages of 1 to 3.
As their language skills are beginning to develop, these outbursts of emotions are ways in which they express themselves. These are a normal part of child development to show that they are upset or frustrated.
Toddlers want independence and control over their environment which lead to power struggles. When they discover that they cannot have everything they want, frustration builds and by lacking the communication skills to express it, they may throw a tantrum.
When a child wants something and throws a tantrum over it, it is important to remember not to give in. This sends the wrong idea that the tantrum is the best way to get what he wants.
But, here’s the good news! Learning to deal with frustration is a skill that children gain over time.
Here are some ways we can help them regulate their emotions:
- Give them some control over the little things
Offer minor choices such as “Do you want to wear pink or purple?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth before or after a bath?” This way, it will let your child feels that he has some control and the answer will not be a straight up “no” if you asked, “Do you want to brush your teeth now?”.
- Keep off-limits objects out of sight
As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. Avoid taking them to places like the toy shop to avoid temptation. This makes the struggle less likely and having to go through the power struggle of saying no.
- Distract your child
Leverage on your little one’s short attention span. Offer him something else in place of what he can’t have such as starting a new activity to replace the forbidden one. Or simply change the environment. Take your toddler outside or inside or move to a different room.
- Keep calm and carry on
Most importantly, keep your cool when responding to your child’s temper tantrum. Remind yourself that it is your job to help your child to calm down.
Your actions set an example for your child. Rather than using physical punishment, understand that it sends the wrong message about the use of force, which can result in more negative behaviour in the long run.
A Final Word
Children may be especially vulnerable after a tantrum when they know they have been less than adorable. Now (when your child is calm) is the time for a hug and reassurance that your child is loved, no matter what.
Got more questions regarding child behavioural that you would like to know about? Submit your questions here: https://goo.gl/forms/kp7rpadW6Bd9DIfC2
About the Expert: Ms Xaviera Lim
In her role as Cluster Principal at Kiddiwinkie Schoolhouse, Xaviera is involved in branding management, and all operational matters, including service assurance and adherence to licensing regulations for all centres. With a degree in Early Childhood Education (Honours) and a Diploma in Early Childhood Education (Leadership), Xaviera also serves a mentorship role to all principals at Kiddiwinkie.
As an advocate for pre-school education, Xaviera believes that education should always be relevant to a child’s existence; constantly evolving to meet future challenges.