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Handling Temper Tantrums in Preschoolers

Handling Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums are a very tricky and stressful subject for most parents of preschool age children. The fact is, temper tantrums are a relatively normal part of life for children around age one through five. Thankfully, there are many ways to ease the strain of this time in a child’s development.

Coping with Tantrums

At the age between one and five, children are beginning to learn how to express themselves and that everything doesn’t always go their way. As parents and teachers, it is our job to help them learn how to handle their emotions and show them a more positive way to deal with them. It can be terribly upsetting to see a child scream and whine for what seems to be the littlest thing. It is important to recognize the normality of this and how much your child needs help during this time. They are overwhelmed and rely on us as adults to keep calm. Children learn to deal with emotions peacefully through positive example.

Avoiding Tantrums

It is preferable to prevent a tantrum from happening in the first place than to deal with it when it hits. There are ways to ward of a tantrum when your child sends the telltale signals of a meltdown.

  • Be prepared for the fit. Having distractions at the ready can be very helpful. Small snacks, games, or activities can make a child forget their tantrum quickly if caught early. Though it is important to not give food as a comfort mechanism or to simply “give them what they want” to make them stop crying. The idea is to distract them before the tantrum is thrown.
  • Teach them to label emotions. Putting a name to what they are feeling can be very helpful to a small child. Oftentimes, children throw a fit from lack of ability to express themselves. Teach them how to say they are mad, tired, or sad, etc. Then they can use their words instead of screaming aimlessly.
  • Let them show you what is upsetting them. Instead of loudly demanding they stop their negative behavior, give a child the opportunity to “show” what is making them upset. This will encourage language skills and shorten the length of a temper tantrum.
  • Give choices. For example, “would you like to put on your socks or jacket first”? This gives kids an opportunity to think about what they want to do rather than focus on their frustration.
  • Maintain a Routine. Children thrive on structure. If they know what to expect, they are more able to keep calm throughout the day.

In order to quell the dreaded tantrums of a preschooler, it is important to think like a child. They need constant support and guidance to learn how to handle emotions as well as developing expression skills. We can be there to help them gain control of themselves and live a calmer life as a result.

May 29th, 2017

Posted In: About MKU Katy