Imagine a little boy crying and screaming because you wouldn’t let him play with his toy. He doesn’t show any signs of stopping until you give in and let him play with it. It’s exhausting, right? That’s what most parents go through with their children.
They go through all the tantrums that 3-year-old children throw and think they will finally get it, but they don’t realize that all those tantrums have been building up over time. But what if there was a way to lower the stress of dealing with a child’s temper tantrums?
What if there was a way to make them less frequent and intense? Keep reading to learn more.
What to Do When Your 3-year-old Temper Tantrums Worsen
One of the most common issues you’ll face when raising your 3-year-old is temper tantrums. These tantrums can last from a few minutes to an hour and can be incredibly frustrating for you and your child.
So, it can be hard for you to know how to react or respond to your toddler’s temper tantrums. In essence, you will want to be supportive while at the same time not giving in. Here are some tips for how to deal with your child’s tantrums:
Keep the environment calm
Foremost, don’t get frustrated or angry with your child, as this may worsen the situation. Instead, try to keep the environment as calm as possible so your child feels less stressed out and more comfortable talking through their feelings with you or any other adult.
Get the kid moving
If the tantrum gets out of control, take him into another room and have him walk, crawl or jump on a trampoline. A quick burst of activity can help break the intensity of his anger and frustration.
Be consistent and patient with your toddler’s behavior
Focus on one thing at a time — for example, getting him to put away toys or pick up his clothes — instead of trying to force him into doing everything all at once. If he throws a fit over not being able to do something else first, let him have it!
That will teach him that tantrums aren’t an effective way to get what he wants out of life.
Don’t get sucked into it
Don’t feel obligated to play along when your child starts throwing a fit just because he sees you laughing or smiling at him. If you react badly, stop getting upset by thinking about what you’re doing when your child’s turning into an over-the-top tantrum thrower.
Be calm and reassuring, but firm
You don’t want to be a pushover or make your child feel bad, so you need to take charge and not let them get away with anything. Make sure they understand that it is OK to express their feelings, even if they are angry or upset.
Don’t try to reason with them
This will make them feel like they’re being judged and will only make things worse for both of you! Instead, use calm, soothing tones when talking with them about what went wrong (e.g., “I know that was frustrating for you because I know how much you love soccer”).
Then show them that there are better ways of dealing with frustration (e.g., taking deep breaths).
Helping Your 3-year-Olds Develop Self-Regulation
The key to dealing with your 3-year-olds’ temper tantrums is to keep calm, respect their feelings and give them time to calm down without interruption. Sometimes also, it’s best just to let them have their moment of anger and frustration rather than trying to reason with them or talk them out of it.
When they finally calm down, they are more likely to acknowledge their feelings and apologize if they did anything weird. Here are some tips on how to help your 3-year-old develop self-regulation:
- Encourage good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior
Instead of yelling at or punishing your child when they misbehave, focus on teaching them how to behave in a way that helps others feel comfortable and safe around them.
For example, if your child throws a toy across the room, don’t say, “That’s a bad boy!” Instead, tell them politely how you can fix things, so no one gets hurt. This will teach them that hurting anyone is not allowed and may help prevent future temper tantrums.
- Help your child use logical thinking skills when dealing with anger issues.
When children get angry about something, it is often because they feel powerless over it (e.g., “I asked for this toy, and Mom didn’t give it to me!”). Help your child learn ways to deal with emotions in a way that doesn’t make them feel like victims or powerless.
- Show that you understand
Stay calm when your child acts out or gets angry. It’s important to show that you understand what is happening rather than taking things personally. This will help children learn how to deal with their emotions appropriately.
- Reassure him
By talking calmly and soothingly to your child, you can help him feel safer and more secure. If possible, let him know that he can trust his feelings and that it isn’t “bad” for him to have strong feelings about something.
- Give your child choices about how he wants his day to go
If he wants a certain toy, let him play with it for 15 minutes before changing things up. This teaches him that he has control over his own choices and makes him feel in control of his activities and feelings.
- Model positive behavior
If you want your child to turn down the volume on his emotions, model good behavior yourself by being calm when he acts out or hears something upsetting from others.
A 3-year-old temper tantrum can be a source of adult frustration, particularly when that outburst occurs in public. Try to remember that this behavior is a part of her stage of development and that it is not something she is doing on purpose.
While you may not be able to reason with your little one through tears, a simple hug, coupled with some reassurance that you are there for her and will help her work through her frustration, should do the trick.