How to deal with tantrums

 Understanding and Managing Tantrums in Children

Tantrums are a common and often challenging aspect of parenting, especially in the early years of a child’s development. These emotional outbursts, characterized by crying, screaming, kicking, and other forms of physical expression, are a normal part of growing up. They are most prevalent among toddlers and preschoolers but can occur at any age. Understanding the causes of tantrums and learning how to manage them effectively can make a significant difference in both the child's and the parent's well-being.

 The Nature of Tantrums

Tantrums are a natural part of childhood development. They typically begin around the age of one and can continue until the child is about four years old. During this period, children are learning to navigate the world, express their needs, and assert their independence. However, they often lack the language skills and emotional regulation necessary to communicate their feelings effectively. This gap between their desires and their ability to express them can lead to frustration, which manifests as a tantrum.

 Common Triggers of Tantrums

Identifying the triggers of tantrums can help in managing them. Common triggers include:

1. Physical Needs: Hunger, fatigue, and discomfort are primary triggers. Ensuring that a child’s basic needs are met can prevent many tantrums.

2. Frustration: Children often experience frustration when they are unable to accomplish a task or get what they want. This frustration can quickly escalate into a tantrum.

3. Overstimulation: Too much noise, activity, or change can overwhelm a child, leading to a meltdown.

4. Attention-Seeking: Sometimes, children use tantrums to gain attention, whether positive or negative, from their caregivers.

5. Independence: As children grow, they crave independence and the ability to make choices. When they feel their autonomy is being restricted, they may respond with a tantrum.

 Effective Strategies for Managing Tantrums

Managing tantrums involves a combination of prevention, intervention, and teaching emotional regulation. Here are some strategies:

1. Stay Calm: The most important thing a parent can do during a tantrum is to stay calm. Reacting with anger or frustration can escalate the situation. Instead, take deep breaths and maintain a composed demeanor.

2. Understand and Validate Feelings: Acknowledge your child’s emotions. Let them know that it’s okay to feel upset, angry, or frustrated. Use phrases like, “I see you’re really upset because…” This validation helps the child feel understood and supported.

3. Set Clear Expectations and Consistent Rules: Establishing clear, consistent rules and expectations helps children understand what is acceptable behavior. Consistency is key to helping them learn boundaries and consequences.

4. Offer Choices: Giving children choices can help them feel a sense of control. For example, instead of saying, “It’s time to get dressed,” offer a choice between two outfits. This empowers the child and can reduce resistance.

5. Distract and Redirect: Sometimes, simply changing the child’s focus can prevent or stop a tantrum. Introducing a new toy, activity, or even changing the environment can shift their attention away from the source of frustration.

6. Time-Outs and Calm-Down Spaces: If a tantrum escalates, a time-out or a designated calm-down space can be effective. This is not a punishment but a chance for the child to cool off and regain control. Keep time-outs brief and proportionate to the child’s age (one minute per year of age).

7. Teach Emotional Regulation: Help children learn to identify and manage their emotions. Teach them to use words to express their feelings. Simple techniques like deep breathing, counting to ten, or using a favorite calm-down activity can be beneficial.

8. Preemptive Strategies: Preventing tantrums is often about being proactive. Establish a routine to provide a sense of security. Prepare your child for transitions and new experiences to reduce anxiety. Ensure they are well-rested and well-fed to minimize physical triggers.

9. Positive Reinforcement: Praise and reward good behavior. Positive reinforcement encourages children to repeat desirable behaviors. This could be through verbal praise, stickers, or a reward system.

10. Prevention Through Routine: 
  • Consistent Schedule: Maintain a regular schedule for meals, naps, and bedtime to prevent fatigue and hunger-induced tantrums.
  • Predictability: Children feel secure when they know what to expect. A predictable routine can reduce anxiety and tantrums. 
11. Calm Down Techniques:
  • Teach Deep Breathing: Show them how to take deep breaths to calm down. You can do it together: “Let’s take three deep breaths together.”
  • Create a Calm Down Space: Designate a quiet, cozy spot where your child can go to calm down with soft toys, books, or calming activities.
12. Use Humor:
  • Make Them Laugh: Sometimes, humor can defuse a tense situation. A funny face, a silly dance, or a playful voice can lighten the mood.
  • Unexpected Fun: Turn a frustrating moment into a game or a playful challenge.
 13. Anticipate Needs:
  • Prepare for Transitions: Give your child a heads-up before changing activities. “We will leave the park in five minutes. Let’s start getting ready.”
  • Snack and Rest: Ensure they have regular snacks and rest times to prevent hunger and fatigue-induced meltdowns.
14. Model Behavior:
  • Show Calmness: Children learn by observing adults. Demonstrate calm and composed behavior during stressful situations.
  • Teach Coping Skills: Model and teach coping mechanisms like deep breathing, counting to ten, or using words to express feelings.
15. Interactive Tools:
  • Emotion Charts: Use charts with faces showing different emotions to help your child point out what they’re feeling.
  • Storytelling: Use stories to teach about emotions and appropriate ways to handle them.
 16. Positive Disengagement:
  • Stay Nearby: Sometimes, giving your child space while staying close can help them calm down without feeling abandoned.
  • Silent Support: Offer silent, reassuring presence without engaging in their emotional outburst, which can sometimes escalate the situation.
17. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If tantrums are severe, frequent, or impact your child’s daily life, consider consulting a pediatrician or child psychologist. They can provide additional strategies and support for managing challenging behaviors.

 The Role of Parents and Caregivers

Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in helping children navigate their emotions and behavior. It’s essential to model appropriate ways of dealing with stress and frustration. Children learn by observing the adults around them, so demonstrating calm and effective coping mechanisms is vital.

Additionally, building a strong, positive relationship with your child based on trust and open communication can make a significant difference. When children feel secure and understood, they are more likely to express their needs and emotions in healthy ways.


Tantrums are an inevitable part of childhood, but they can be managed effectively with the right strategies. Understanding the underlying causes, staying calm, validating feelings, setting clear expectations, and teaching emotional regulation are all key components of managing tantrums. By approaching tantrums with patience, empathy, and consistency, parents and caregivers can help children develop the skills they need to handle their emotions and behaviors constructively. This not only reduces the frequency and intensity of tantrums but also fosters a positive, supportive environment for the child’s growth and development.

Here are some awesome ways to deal the situation:

1. Magic Calm-Down Jar:
Create a Calm-Down Jar: Fill a jar with water, glitter glue, and glitter. When your child starts to have a tantrum, shake the jar and ask them to watch the glitter settle. This visual can help them calm down and focus on something soothing.

2. Emotion Thermometer:
Visualize Emotions: Create an "emotion thermometer" with different levels of emotions (e.g., calm, annoyed, angry, furious). Teach your child to identify where they are on the thermometer and use strategies to move back down to "calm."

3. Role-Playing Games:
Practice Scenarios: Use dolls, action figures, or role-playing to act out different scenarios and how to handle emotions. This helps children understand appropriate responses and gives them tools to use in real situations.

4. Breathing Buddies:
Deep Breathing with a Toy: Have your child lie down with a favorite stuffed animal on their stomach. Encourage them to take deep breaths and watch the stuffed animal rise and fall. This makes deep breathing more engaging and effective.

5. Calm-Down Box:
Create a Sensory Box: Fill a box with calming items like stress balls, fidget toys, coloring books, or scented playdough. When a tantrum starts, encourage your child to use items from the calm-down box to self-soothe.

6. Musical Time-Out:
Music for Calm: Play calming music or nature sounds during a tantrum. This can help create a peaceful environment and distract your child from their frustration.

7. Storytime for Emotions:
Read Books About Emotions: Choose storybooks that talk about feelings and how to manage them. Discuss the characters' emotions and relate them to your child's experiences.

8. Positive Reinforcement Chart:
Behavior Rewards: Create a reward chart where your child can earn stickers or points for displaying positive behaviors and successfully managing their emotions. Offer a small reward when they reach a certain number of points.

9. Emotion Matching Game:
Match Emotions to Faces: Use cards with different facial expressions and emotions. Play a matching game where your child pairs the emotion word with the corresponding face. This helps them recognize and name their feelings.

10. Interactive Apps and Games:
Emotional Regulation Apps: Use apps designed to help children learn about emotions and coping strategies through interactive games and activities.