As a Mom of 8 kids, one thing I know is temper tantrums. At one point I had children ages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 14. (6 of my children are adopted. I know those ages seem impossible.) In those days tantrums were a very common part of my life. I either had to learn how to deal with temper tantrums or go completely insane. It was close believe me.
I researched and I came to realize that my children’s temper tantrum were usually a result of feeling out of control or helpless. When I allowed them to be in control, they felt better and the tantrums ended. Ok, I can hear you saying that you can’t let toddlers be in control. The parents have to be in control. Well, in my experience both are right and it’s all about how the choices are presented. I allowed my children to have 2 choices that were both acceptable to me. They got to choose what to do but either choice was one that I directed. It was a win win.
4 Tips to Turn Down Temper Tantrums:
- Give them a change of scenery. One of my daughters just needed to take some time and yell. She had a lot to work out and those emotions could not and shouldn’t have been kept quiet. I made her a cozy corner that she could go to and yell. It was in a safe area where the rest of the family couldn’t hear her, but close enough that she could come join us when she was ready. It had a bean bag and a blanket, some toys and books, and a snack. She could go in there when she needed and come out when she was done. I helped her to know when to go in but she could come out when she wanted to. It was her place and her decision. That gave her the control she needed and eventually she went in there when she needed a break before she had tantrums.
- Let them take a time out. This is very different than giving them a time out or using a time out chair. This is thinking of a time out in the same way a sports team thinks about it. It is giving them a chance to take a step away from a frustrating or overwhelming situation so that they can calm down, regroup and be successful when they go back in. This isn’t about having them think about what they did but more about helping them figure but how to do better. We would go outside or into another room and after they had a chance to calm enough to listen, I would help them take some deep breaths and then ask them why they were upset and help them come up with a good solution through guided questions.
- Remind them of the opportunity cost of the temper tantrum. Sometimes their tantrums were about a battle of wills that they were trying to draw me into. During those temper tantrums, I found it really helped to remind them of what they could be giving up if they kept going. For example, if they kept yelling and arguing, I wouldn’t have time to play a game with them before I had to go pick up their brothers and sisters. Staying calm and impartial is key here. I also let them know that I really enjoyed our games too and I’d talk about the games and ask questions like which character they wanted to be.
- Use a sensory sheet or sensory sock – For children with special needs, often temper tantrums are a sign of sensory overload. These sensory sheets and sensory socks are soothing and grounding for children with sensory needs. They provide all over, deep sensory input. If a child with sensory sensitivities is having a tantrum, the deep sensory input of the sensory sock and sensory sheet is calming and helps them to feel grounded. See this post on why I love the sensory sheets and how easy they are to make.
These tips won’t work for everyone. Every child is different. My children who had tantrums came to us had special needs, but these tips really helped me when my kids were little and I hope they can help you too!
*Frugal Mom of 8 is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.