kelli7 asks:

Any suggestions for a 3 year old with knock out tantrums?

I have  a three year old daughter.  She has started talking back, and throwing antrums.  Screaming, knock out yelling tantrums.  Time outs don't work, I just started putting her in her room for time outs, because she would not say in a time out chair, but that seems to have little affect.  ant suggestions?
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Sep 3, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

Of all the skills you can teach your daughter "staying calm" might be the most important.  Young children have a hard time managing their emotions. It is especially hard for them to stay calm when they are frustrated or angry.  When these emotions rise you see the behaviors of screaming, throwing knock out yelling tantrums.

When dealing with tantrums, defiance or other out-of-control behavior, prevention is the best approach.  If you teach and give them many opportunities to practice controlling their emotions, young children are more likely to do it when they actually become angry and upset.  You want to teach and practice calming-down methods during "neutral" times.

Some effective calming methods are simple prompts to count or to practice taking deep breaths.  For a three year old you could introduce this as "Blowing out Birthday Candles".
It can be introduced and taught to her like this;

1) Show and Tell the Positive Behavior.
"Mommy wants to show you what to do when you get mad.  When Mommy or Daddy says "No" and you get mad and want to scream, just take your hand and raise three of your fingers up like candles and blow each one of them out."
(Demonstrate with your own hand and fingers, blowing on each one of them.)

2)  Practice.
" Now you try it,  Mommy will do it with you."
(Have your daughter hold up her hand and demonstrate exactly what you want her to do.)

3)  Show your Approval.
"Now that is just what Mommy wants you to do the next time you get mad.  Instead of screaming, just get out your Birthday Candles and blow them out."  "Good girl for practicing."
(Give her a hug or a pat on the back to reinforce your approval.)
Remember to teach at a neutral time, teach the positive behavior you want to see, be brief, and make the practice fun for you and for your child.  It will take lots of practice so don't plan on doing it just once.  Involve your husband in the practices and anyone else who helps care for your daughter.

There are many other techniques that can be taught to help her stay calm and control her behaviors.  Please feel free to try what ever you feel would be best for her.  Use the three steps demonstrated above to teach those techniques.

Good luck and try not to loose sight of the "joy" of raising small children.

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Additional Answers (2)

dancekam writes:
Hi Kelli.  You might want to read the following article about positive reinforcement and rewards.

If you can turn her focus to positive behavior, she will have less trantrums.  You may also ant to google selective ignoring.  There is a school of thought that advocates ignoring certain behaviors, but you have to be careful that you don't ignore the child.  There is a fine line to follow with this approach.

Good luck, kathy stemke
> 60 days ago

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justjessica , Parent writes:
sorry to hear bout that... went through the same with my son (still going through it...) i changed the 'time out corner' to the 'better choice chair/corner'... it seems to calm him down a little more and we tell him that if he wants to think about what he did and come up with a better choice we sit him down for a few minutes (normally the minutes equal out to how old he is)...
> 60 days ago

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