Temper tantrums are all part of childhood and parenting. Every child has them at some point.
So, what’s the best way to manage them?
Honestly, I can’t answer that. All I can do is give you ideas on how we manage them.
Dominic and Lily have varying degrees of tantrums. They can go from a little whinge to full-blown meltdown in seconds and over the smallest things too.
Even though he’s 4, Dominic can have some big tantrums. From not wanting to go out, to having the wrong crisps. My mantra for these moments is “pick your battles”. If it’s over something small, like crisps, I tend to give in and get him different ones. I know this can set a bad example of him always getting his way, but it’s something so small and, to be honest, I can’t be bothered to deal with the meltdown that will follow. If it’s something bigger, like going out, we follow a simple system.
We start with a warning.
We always give a warning first as this gives them the choice of what to do. I find it’s good to give that choice of how to behave. Sometimes Dominic listens, sometimes he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, it’s onto step 2.
Step 2 is counting to 5.
We start counting and if he’s still not listening when we get to 5, it moves onto the next step. Lily on the other hand. She will either laugh or join in with counting. She’s definitely a pickle and knows she can, kind of, get away with it as she’s still little. Dominic has normally listened by the time we get to 3, but I’ve found it’s important to have that next step ready and, sometimes, threaten it when we hit the count of 4.
So, what is step 3?
Step 3 is the naughty step or “time out”. The bottom step of our stairs has become the naughty step/time out area. When we used to do it, we all used to be in the living room still but we would turn off the TV or anything else going on. We then had some great advice about leaving the room too. That way he has no one to get attention off, especially Lily. She would always go over to him and it didn’t help the situation. So, now we leave the room and go into the kitchen. He tends to calm down in about a minute and will come to find us to say sorry and do whatever it is we have asked him too.
We are still teaching Lily these steps. She does listen to warnings but doesn’t stay on the step. I’ve used her cot as a “time out” place before and that seemed to work for her. To be fair, at the moment, she’s very good at listening and will do something if we’ve asked her. Her tantrums tend to be about toys, food and giving things back to Dominic when she’s taken them. Lily does get over things a lot quicker than Dominic though. I’m not sure if it’s an age thing or personality thing haha.
Do you use any other techniques? Let me know in the comments!