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

Michele Borba
Psychology

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.
The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

More About this Book

The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

Today show's Michele Borba's cures for difficult childhood behaviors In this down-to-earth guide, parenting expert Michele Borba offers advice for dealing with children's difficult behavior and hot...

Continue Learning about Tantrums & Toddlers

Tantrums & Toddlers

Tantrums & Toddlers

Temper tantrums can be some of the most frustrating times you experience as a parent of a toddler. While you can’t prevent all tantrums, knowing your child's triggers—hunger, thirst and sleepiness are common—can help. So can teach...

ing your child feeling words to better express him- or herself.
More

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.