Last Updated on September 3, 2022 by Marie Bautista
Does it always happen and how can I stay calm in the midst of a tantrum?
Meltdowns and temper tantrums are a normal part of raising a child. No parent ever looks forward to having their child act in this manner.
So what should you do when a tantrum happens?
Your reaction can either calm the situation or make it worse. Losing our cool is the last thing we should do but often it is the first thing that happens.
What is really happening when your child is having a meltdown?
Are they tired or hungry? Is there too much activity around them and they can’t explain that to you? Are they feeling sick or are they dealing with feelings of fear?
All these questions are valid and knowing the answer is the key to helping them through this emotional breakdown.
14 Tips to Help You Stay Calm When Your Child is Having a Tantrum
Realize and accept that temper tantrums and meltdowns can and will happen at any age.
Remember that your child is not trying to upset or anger you. Try to understand the root cause of the tantrum. Is your child tired, frustrated, or overwhelmed? Recognize the signs that a tantrum is about to happen and try to prevent it before it starts.
Remember to acknowledge your child’s feelings and emotions.
Show them that you understand what they are going through. Try to remain calm and avoid yelling or getting angry. This will only escalate the situation. Speak in a soft, comforting voice and offer words of encouragement.
Try to redirect your child’s attention to something else.
Distracting them may help to stop the tantrum in its tracks. If you are in public, remove yourself and your child from the situation if possible. This will help to avoid further embarrassment and meltdowns.
Never give in to demands made during a tantrum.
If you do, your child will only learn that this is an effective way to get what they want. Stay strong and wait it out. The tantrum will eventually come to an end.
Praise your child when they are able to control their emotions and stay calm.
This will reinforce positive behaviour and let them know that you are proud of them.
Follow through on the rules that you have clearly stated to your children.
If you say that there will be consequences for tantrums, then follow through with them. This will help to prevent future meltdowns.
Never punish your child after a tantrum has ended.
This will only serve to make them feel worse and could lead to more tantrums in the future.
Talk to your child about their feelings.
Don’t apologize for having to pick up your child and leave the room or store.
Just calmly say, “I know you’re frustrated, but we have to go.”
Bonus Tip: Take a deep breath and remember that this too shall pass. It might not feel like it in the moment, but all tantrums come to an end eventually. Hang in there!
Do not get into a yelling or screaming match with your child.
This will only escalate the situation. Be firm, yet gentle with your words. Avoid using phrases such as “calm down” or “relax.”
It is also important to model the behavior that you want to see from your child. If you are reactive and lose your cool, then your child is more likely to do the same. Staying calm in the midst of a tantrum can be difficult, but it is important to remain as composed as possible.
Give yourself and your child space to calm down if you are all in a safe area.
Once everyone has had a chance to calm down, talk to your child about what happened and why it was not okay. Help them to understand their emotions and why it is important to manage them in a healthy way.
Take a deep breath and remind yourself that this situation is just temporary.
It might not feel like it in the moment, but all tantrums come to an end eventually. Hang in there!
Most importantly, never give up on your child. They are worth every bit of effort that you put into helping them through their tantrums and meltdowns.
Offer comfort and understanding.
Let them know that you are there for them and that you will help them to get through this tough time.
Distraction can work wonders!
Try changing the subject or providing a new activity for them to focus on.
If you are in public, try to remove yourself from the situation if possible. This will help to avoid further embarrassment and meltdowns.
Most importantly, don’t take it personally.
Your child is not doing this to spite you. They are just trying to express their emotions in the only way they know how. Try to remain patient and understanding and eventually the tantrum will pass.
Parenting is not easy and oftentimes is not pretty. What we see in movies or even in other families is not necessarily going to be your reality so do your best each day and work along with your child.
Temper tantrums and meltdowns are a normal part of raising a child. No parent ever looks forward to having their child act in this manner, but understanding what is really happening can help you to remain calm during these trying times.
Try to remember that your child is not trying to upset or anger you and that they are just trying to express their emotions. Show them that you understand and praise them when they are able to control their emotions. With a little patience and understanding, the tantrum will eventually pass.