5 Things to Try When Your Kid Throws a Tantrum
Stop that meltdown in its tracks
Screaming. Flailing. Sobbing. You want to do all three when your kid is in full-blown meltdown mode. But since tantrums are a universal reality of childhood, try these tricks to tame the beast within.
A well-timed laugh will break the tension of any power struggle and redirect a child’s mind from whatever is frustrating him. One expert calls this the “mental switcheroo.” As for what’s funny: We’re big fans of the old “Mommy put Thomas the Tank Engine on her nose” routine.
Have you ever argued with a partner who tries to problem solve your every gripe rather than simply listening? Infuriating, right? If your kid needs to freak out, let him. He can punch a pillow or wail on the floor (so long as he’s safe) and get his feelings out. Then, once he settles, you can talk. When you do, genuinely validating phrases like “I can see that made you very angry” go a long way toward making him feel heard.
Create a diversion by any means necessary. You’re at the supermarket and refusing to buy the chocolate-dipped gummy worms (and really, how could you)? Announce in a chipper voice that you simply need his help pointing out the biggest lobster in that tank over there.
Ignore it. Make sure he’s safe. And then literally act like you don’t see what’s happening. Since it's futile to reason with a frenzied mind, keep folding laundry or organizing that bookshelf. Keep your own emotions in check. Don’t fuel the fire. Don't say a word. Breathe. As the famous parenting mantra goes: Be the thermostat, not the thermometer. You set the tone.
It may be the last thing you feel like doing after he's just called you a potty-word-face and thrown a stuffed giraffe at your head. But a firm, wordless hug (not a cuddly sweet one) reminds him that your love is unwavering and that he is safe to vent.