Ways to Tame Tantrums

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If your child  has ever had a tantrums you know the agony that are tantrums. And if you child is between the ages of 1 and 4, you’ve had your share of tantrums. It can feel impossible once your child enters into a meltdown. The next time you find yourself with a temperamental child on your hands, try some of these techniques:

Remove Them From The Situation

Before trying to have a rational conversation with your child, it’s usually better to give them a chance to calm down. If you are in public, calmly but firmly let them know you are leaving and then leave. Have a “quiet spot” set up at home for them with pillows and a stuffed animal to go when tantrums happen there.   

Distract Them

One quick way to help you child forget about being upset is to distract them. Distract them with sudden movements or quickly hide and then reappear. You can also try staring off into the distance as though you see something and then asking if they see it too. Their curiosity will distract them from their frustration.

Stay Firm

If your child is throwing a fit because they can’t have what they want, don’t cave and give it to them to get them to calm down. This teaches them that tantrums are the way to get what they want. Instead, tell them no, briefly explain why, and tell them you two can talk about it when they calm down. 

Hold Them

For kids and adults alike, being held has a very calming effect. Sometimes children are overwhelmed by their own emotions or lack of control they have over themselves. In these cases, holding them gently but firmly can help them feel safe and also keep them from hurting themselves. 

Give Them Food and Rest

Likewise it’s difficult for children to regulate their emotions when they are hungry or tired, just like adults. Being out of your routine and missing a snack or nap time is a good indication that this is the problem. They won’t be able to tell you that that, and probably don’t even know it themselves, so when a tantrum erupts, just give them a snack and nap.

Deep Breathes

Often, children don’t yet know how to snap out of a tantrum. During a time when they’re calm, teach them how to take deep breathes. Next time they erupt, take deep breathes together. This will not only remind them of how to calm themselves down, but help you calm yourself down as well.

Whisper/Speak Quietly

This seems counter-intuitive. Instead of yelling, talk to your child very quietly when they are having a meltdown. They will wonder what you are saying and why you are saying it so quietly, and stop crying and yelling just to hear you. This plays on their curiosity again.


Ideally, any parent would want to prevent tantrums happening in the first place. Trying to stay on a snack and nap schedule is the easiest way to make sure they’ve gotten enough food and rest. Speaking of schedule, make sure they aren’t scheduled for too many things or a tantrum may erupt due to overwhelm. Also, avoiding large amounts of sugar or making sure they also have protein rich snacks to help stabilize them during sugar crashes is always smart.

Every child and every tantrum is different. What worked for once may not work again. Sometimes you might find nothing works, but keep trying calmly. Know that this does not make you a bad parent and that almost anyone with a child must deal with the same thing. If you have to, remind yourself that tantrums are usually just a phase.


By: Alecia Stanton




















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