Research demonstrates that children with strong social-emotional skills have better coping skills, less tantrums and fits, are more independent, have better academic success and have an easier time making and keeping friends.
Developing skills to regulate emotions is an essential life skill for a child to be successful in all aspects of life.
Steps to Reducing Temper Tantrums and Fits
When a child throws a tantrum or is refusing to listen to you it can be very frustrating for a parent. Once a tantrum starts, it can be hard to stop. Through a process of observation, planning and implementing a specific plan for your child and for your home you can prevent tantrums or reduce the frequency in which they happen.
1. Observe and Document Your Child’s Behavior.
Observations should include:
- Time of day
- Location of tantrum, be specific (as well as good behaviors)
- Potential events leading up to the tantrum
- People around when it happened
It’s important to physically document their behaviors, don’t just store it in your head. Writing it down allows you to track their behaviors over time and see if any are related and help solve the true root of the problem more effectively and thoroughly. It also allows you to track their progress. You can document them in a notebook or use the free template provided below.
2. Reflect and Identify Triggers
There are many triggers and causes that lead to the oncoming of a tantrum or challenging behaviors (refusing to listen, arguing, etc.). It can be difficult to figure out what is triggering your child. Things such as anxiety, uncertainty, your home environment, the time of day and many other factors can all play a role in these agitating behaviors. In this lesson I am going to go through a step-by-step process on how to identify what is provoking your child and help you come up with a plan specific to your child’s needs, and give activities that aid social-emotional development.
Determine what your child’s triggers are. Identifying them will allow us come up with a more targeted plan to stop or prevent the challenging behaviors. If you aren’t sure what your child’s triggers are after observing them for a few days, don’t worry-we can still make a generalized plan.
3. Create a Plan
Often times some small changes can make a huge impact on your child’s behavior. Other times we have to get creative and come up with some bigger changes.
More often than not, creating a consistent routine for your child can help alleviate a lot of temper tantrums and challenging behaviors. Having a consistent routine helps to lower anxiety and generates more confidence and independence. Anxiety can be displayed in a lot of strange ways in young children. Make sure to check out our section on childhood anxiety and trauma.
If your child cannot read, creating a visual schedule with pictures can help them see what is going to come next in their day. See our free article on making a schedule that works well for your child.
Sign up for our online class to learn more creative and unique ideas for plans to help with specific behaviors from a professional Child Behaviorist Specialist. Our classes have options to have a video appointment with a behavior specialist.
4. Implement Your Plan
There are a lot of changed you can do to help alter and improve your child’s behavior. But- don’t expect to see changed overnight. Often times the behavior can get worse for the first small portion of the changes. It is EXTREMELY important to be consistent and follow through every single day with your plan.
Consistency is key for helping your child stay calm. Children are taking in everything around them and always learning and adapting. If you are consistent with them with your plan and how you interact.
5. Learn how to talk to communicate with your child in a Developmentally Appropriate way.
There are ways to prevent a full blown tantrum it if you can see them starting to happen. These are great teaching moments if you can figure out the timing of it.
There are also activities and strategies to help calm your child down when they start to get upset. Teaching them how to regulate their emotions while they are young, will help them with their mental health and being successful in school in the future.
Once a tantrum is full blown you should not try to talk to them about their tantrum, they will be in a chaotic state of mind and there wont be a lot of benefits.
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