How to prevent children's tantrums

Tantrums range from whining and crying to screaming, shouting, kicking, hitting, and holding their breath. They are just as common in boys as in girls, and usually occur between the ages of 1 and 3 years.

Some children have tantrums often, while others have them only very occasionally. Tantrums are a normal part of a child's development. They are young children's way of showing their discomfort or frustration.

Tantrums can happen when children are tired, hungry, upset or uncomfortable. They can happen when they can't get something (such as a toy or a parent's attention) that they want. Learning to cope with frustration is a skill that children develop over time.

Tantrums are common during the second year of life when children are beginning to develop language skills. Because 1-3-year-olds cannot yet express in words what they want, feel, or need, frustrating experiences can trigger tantrums. As their language skills improve, tantrums tend to decrease.

Children between 1 and 3 years old want more independence and more control over their environment, in fact, more than they are capable of assuming. This can lead to power struggles, as the child thinks "I can do it myself" or "I want that now: give it to me". When children discover that they can't do it on their own or that they can't have everything they want, tantrums ensue.

And these moments make us as parents lose patience and become frustrating. You know that in everything we can see an opportunity even in these moments that are crazy and that take us out of our minds, what if we try to see them as opportunities to educate?

What to do to prevent them? 

Remove from the child's sight what he/she cannot stand.

Show the child a new bright stimulus, offer him another, more interesting activity. For this case, I always had with my bubbles or a balloon that I could start blowing up urgently, or small cheap wind-up toys.

Scissors are a dangerous toy for a baby, but if he really wants to play with them, he can touch them under the mother's watchful eye. Too many prohibitions make children nervous and limit their development.

You can say "Of course, but later" or "Yes, but..." with other words: "Of course, we'll play, we'll sleep a bit, and then we'll play".

To interrupt a game to go and eat, we suggest that the child feed his toy. To feed a young builder, instead of "Leave the buckets, let's have some soup", announce that the construction team has its lunch break.

We offer an alternative, the essence of which is that the child keeps doing it our way: "Do you want to build cars or soldiers first?". This method will not always work: only from the age when the child can choose or reject both options

Give your child lots of positive attention. Develop the habit of noticing when your child behaves well. Reward your child with attention and praise for positive behavior.

Give your child some control over small things. Allow him to make small choices such as "Do you want orange juice or apple juice?" or "Would you rather brush your teeth before or after you take a bath? This way, you won't have to say "Do you want to brush your teeth now?", which would inevitably lead to a "no" answer.

Keep forbidden objects out of your child's sight and reach. This will reduce the likelihood that he or she will struggle to reach them. Obviously, this is not always possible, especially outside the home where you cannot control the environment.

Distract your child. Take advantage of the short attention span of a young child and offer your child something other than what he wants but cannot have. Start with a new activity to replace the frustrating or forbidden activity. Or simply change the environment. Take your child indoors or outdoors, or change rooms.

Help your child learn new skills and succeed. Help your child learn to do new things. Praise him or her to help him or her feel proud of what he or she can do. Also, start with simple things before moving on to more challenging tasks.

When your child asks for something, consider his request carefully. Is it intolerable? Maybe not. Pick your battles.

Know your child's limits. If you know your child is tired, it's not the best time to go to the grocery store or run the last errand.

Remain calm when responding to a tantrum.

Temper tantrums should be handled differently depending on what has upset your child.

Don't reward your child's tantrum by giving in to his or her demands. This will only prove to your child that the tantrum works. Instead, verbally praise your child for regaining control.

I hope you find these steps helpful, but please always remember to be patient in this process.

With love,

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