Back in May, I wrote a post called 10 Ways to Stop a Tantrum. This post has been very popular and I believe one of the reasons for its popularity is that all parents can relate to it. We have all been in the position of trying to console a child who is having a tantrum. I offered some tips that have worked for our family and was thrilled that so many readers commented with their own tips that have been helpful for them. I know some readers don’t always read all the comments in a post, so I wanted to summarize the great reader advice here. Thanks to all the wonderful readers who commented and shared! Read on for more great ideas…
Obviously there are times when your child is genuinely upset and hurt about something and those are wonderful opportunities to bond, label their feelings and discuss possible solutions. These tips are more for the times that a child is crying about something minor (you won’t give them a second cookie, something has not gone their way, etc…).
Here are the 10 MORE ways to stop a tantrum from the Mess For Less readers:
1. Removal from a setting
One reader found that simply removing her child from an area where they were having a tantrum was enough to get them back on track. This works especially well when the child was playing with others when the tantrum occurred. Most children don’t want to be taken away from play or friends.
One mom said that when they have tried everything else and the anger and tantrum still persists, they tell the child they can continue to be angry but they need to do it in their room. I like how this does not deny the child their feelings, but allows them to have a safe place to feel them.
2. Eye Contact
One reader swears by asking her son to make eye contact with her. This helps the child to focus and regroup and sometimes when he is looking at her she may even be making a funny face which helps break the tension.
3. Keeping little hands busy
Silly putty to help calm down? One Mess For Less reader says it works for her child. She tries either silly putty or play dough and finds that the stretching and smooshing helps the child to feel calm. The concept sounds similar to a stress ball so I can see how this would be effective. I bet pounding the putty or play dough would feel good for little ones dealing with anger.
4. Use humor
I love the suggestion by the mom who said when their little ones are having a crying fit she gets out a little spoon and tries to catch their tears. The kids usually stop crying right then and there because they are so interested in seeing their tears.
This one really hit home for me. One mom reminded us that we must display calm behavior when stressed so we can model for our kids how we want them to react. Obviously, a two year old has a lot less impulse control than an adult (well, most adults anyway), but as they grow they should always have a model of how they can behave. This is the toughest for me as I don’t always have the best reactions when stressed.
6. Turn on the camera
Sometimes when a child flies into a rage they have no idea or recollection of how they have behaved. This prompted one mom to video tape her child having a tantrum. She is quick to point out that she did this silently without ridicule. After the tantrum had resolved, they would watch the video and talk about what happened. She said that after 5 or 6 times of doing this his tantrums went away.
7. Take a drink
A reader who worked at a camp said that they would ask upset campers to drink some water as they could not cry and drink at the same. This usually stopped the children from crying so they could talk about what was upsetting them.
8. Food related
Another suggestion I got from a few moms is to investigate whether the tantrum might be related to a dietary issue. One mom mentioned hypoglycemia as a possibility, and another talked about food allergies. It might be worth looking into if the tantrum problem is not resolved by any other means. Along those lines, sometimes just being hungry can throw a kid off. Think about the last time they ate and what they consumed.
9. Positive attention
Giving her daughter lots of positive attention and praise when she is exhibiting desired behaviors works well for one reader. I mean to do this more, but sometimes when things are peaceful and happy I take it for granted and end up giving much more attention for unwanted behaviors which only perpetuates them.
10. Glitter Jar
I can’t wait to try this one. One reader talked about making a snow globe type jar using glitter and shaking it up and have the child sit still watching until all the glitter has settled. The child is typically concentrating on the glitter that they forget all about the tantrums.
So there you have it. Between this post and the original 10 Ways to Stop a Tantrum, you now have 20 ideas to try out. Not everything will work with every child, and something that works Monday may not work on Tuesday. But I love having lots of options and tricks up my sleeve. Thanks to my clever readers I have a bunch of new ideas to try out.