Acknowledge and Ignore a Temper Tantrum
What You Need to Know
Children age two to four are still learning how to control their emotions. A temper tantrum is a way for them to express their frustrations. Dr. Richard Gallagher, Director of the Parenting Institute at the NYU Child Study Center, recommends these three things when faced with a tantrum.
- Briefly acknowledge your child’s feelings and stay calm.
- Don’t give the tantrum a lot of attention. You need to model appropriate behavior.
- Be prepared to leave if the tantrum is in a public place.
How You Can Help
Certain situations can trigger tantrums. Try to avoid these triggers whenever possible and let your child know when they have shown appropriate behaviors.
- Praise your child for good behavior. “I’m so proud of you for sitting like a big girl at the restaurant. That helped Mommy and Daddy so much.”
- Give limited choices and give your child some control over what happens. “Would you like to clean up your toys before or after you take your bath?” “Which snack would you like to bring with us to the store?”
- Let your children know when an activity will be ending. Give a countdown and if possible, let them know what is next. “Five more minutes and then we’re going home for dinner. I think you’ll like what we’re having!”
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