Dealing with temper tantrums

Recall how you saw the temper gate open and before you knew it you were at the centre of a gale-force temper tantrum? As parents we have all experienced our children throwing a temper tantrum.
There is no fool-proof way to prevent tantrums, but there’s plenty you can do to encourage good behaviour in even the youngest of children.
Mayo Clinic lists these tips to prevent temper tantrums:
* Be consistent. Establish a daily routine so that your child knows what to expect. Stick to the routine as much as possible, including nap- and bedtime. Set reasonable limits and follow them consistently.
* Plan ahead. Run errands when your child isn’t likely to be hungry or tired. If you’re expecting to wait in line, pack a small toy or snack to occupy your child.
* Encourage your child to use words. Young children understand more words than they’re able to express. If your child isn’t speaking yet, or speaking clearly, teach them sign language for words such as ‘I want’, ‘more’, ‘drink’, ‘hurt’ and ‘tired’. As your child gets older, help them put feelings into words.
* Let your child make choices. Avoid saying ‘no’ to everything. To give your toddler a sense of control, let them make choices. “Would you like to wear your red shirt or your blue shirt?” “Would you like to eat strawberries or bananas?” “Would you like to read a book or build a tower with your blocks?”
* Praise good behaviour. Offer extra attention when your child behaves well. Give your child a hug or tell your child how proud you are when he or she shares or follows directions.
* Avoid situations likely to trigger tantrums. Don’t give your child toys that are far too advanced for them. If your child begs for toys or treats when you shop, try to steer clear of areas with these temptations. If your toddler acts up in restaurants, choose places that offer quick service.
Typically, the best way to respond to a tantrum is to stay calm and ignore the behaviour. You also might try to distract your child. A different book or a change of location might help. If you can’t stay calm and you’re at home, leave the room for a minute.
If your child has a tantrum in public, ignore the behaviour if possible. If your child becomes too disruptive, take them to a private spot for a timeout.
After the timeout, return to the activity or your child will learn that a tantrum is an effective way to escape a given situation.
Be cautious of using timeouts too often as they might become ineffective.

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