Question

Tantrums & Toddlers

What steps should I take after my child has a temper tantrum?

A Answers (1)

  • AMichele Borba, Psychology, answered

    Temper tantrums—those annoying kid wails and frails and meltdowns—are most common amongst toddlers eighteen to twenty-four. It’s one of the reasons those years are so “affectionately” called “the Terrible Twos.” Tantrums are equally as common in girls as in boys. But older kids sometimes resort back to the tantrum stage, especially if there’s been a recent stress or change in their lives or they’ve learned they work to get their way.  While you can expect your little munchkin to have an “Exorcism” or two, how you respond to the outburst will largely determine whether they decrease or increase. Here are steps that will help after your child has a temper tantrum.

     After the Tantrum 

    Don’t stress out. It’s over!!!  Chances are you and your child will both be plain drained. So do whatever you need to do to recoup. Then move on. Track your response. Collect your thoughts, and then assess your response. Were you consistent with how you handled the outburst? “Calm consistency” is a key to ending tantrums, so do be mindful of how you respond to your child. Identify triggers. Get a calendar and keep notes. Is there a pattern as to when or where these tantrums usually occur? For instance, just before naptime because he’s tired; after day care because he’s stressed; or at noon because he’s hungry?) Does your child have a tough time with change and needs a warning that a transition is coming?  Is there anything you can do to change your child’s schedule that might help reduce his out bursts? You should see a gradual diminishment of the tantrums. If those tantrums escalate, are more frequent, last longer in duration, or your child is in danger of hurting himself or others, then it’s time to get help. Call your medical health provider and ask for a consultation to decipher what else could be triggering those tantrums.
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