Develop a strategy
Have a clear plan for how you will handle a tantrum for a range of situations, ie; at home, out shopping, playing at friend’s houses. If a tantrum then occurs, remember to focus on your plan rather than the tantrum. This will help to keep you calm and in control.
Remind the child of what happened last time they misbehaved
If your child is old enough to understand, you can remind them of past experiences and the consequences of misbehaving.
Distract your child
Refocus their attention by calmly offering something else to do, see, eat or play with.
Big tantrums often develop from little tantrums
The faster you can intervene or distract your child from a tantrum the better.
Acknowledge their feelings
This aligns you with them and sets the stage for him/her to begin to work through his own problems. For example, setting up a chart for positive behaviour they need to work towards helps your child to focus on a positive goal.
When a preschool child throws a tantrum
Stay within the child’s sight but carry on normal activities without talking to him or acknowledging the tantrum.
Start a clean slate
Once a tantrum is over, the child is entitled to start over with a clean slate. Comfort may be given, but any original demands the child had should not be fulfilled. Otherwise, tantrums will become a way of life.
If a tantrum does happen you need to be strong. If you are out shopping, for example, leave the shopping basket where it is and take your child out to the car or somewhere quiet until the tantrum is over. They need to see they can’t hold you hostage to a situation.
Keep a diary
For a few days – when the tantrums happen – note what time of day, what you are doing and what your child is doing, when it happens. If it always happens around dinner, try letting your child have her dinner earlier, giving her a bath before dinner, letting her help you prepare the meal, or having some special time with her at this time of day.
If you are unable to stay near
If you are unable to stay near because you feel yourself losing control and are worried about what you may do, tell your child that you will be leaving for a short time but will be back soon to look after him. Make sure he is safe and have someone else stay with him if you can.