Temper Tantrums are the way a young child lets out strong emotions before he/she is able to express them in a socially acceptable way. Although a child may seem out of control, these fits of rage, screaming, throwing himself/herself on the floor are a normal phase of child development. They often begin around age 1 year and can continue through age 3. Most of the time the child is looking for attention and they typically occur only with a parent. Although temper tantrums sometimes happen without warning, parents often can tell when a child is becoming upset.
Tips to dealing with tantrums:
- Avoid letting your child become overtired or hungry by maintaining routines for meals and sleep times.
- Ignore the bad behavior as long as there is no immediate danger.
- Do not give in to the tantrum as they will learn to use inappropriate behavior to get their way.
- Use time-out for a short period (1 minute per year of age) or until they calm down.
- Try to refocus your child with something else like a toy or book.
- Encourage good behavior with positive reinforcement.
Pauline Comfrey, APRN