As a parent, few things are more stressful than the moment you realize your child is winding up for a tantrum. You learn to quickly recognize the signs. They might take a deep breath or start making a familiar facial expression. You know that it’s too late to stop the tantrum. The only thing within your control is the way you respond.

But when your child is crying and yelling, it’s so hard to stay calm yourself. You’re getting frustrated with your typical response. Plus, you worry that getting angry actually fuels your child’s tantrums and makes them more upset.

It’s normal to have a tough time keeping calm when your child is in the middle of a tantrum. Here are a few realistic tips that might make it easier to deal with these situations in the future.

Remember That Tantrums Aren’t Your Fault

Sometimes, when your child throws a tantrum, you might instantly start blaming yourself. You may feel like you did something wrong, or if you hurt your child in some way. But keep in mind that children often throw tantrums simply because they’re feeling tired or overstimulated.

They might also get upset when you remind them of a reasonable rule, like giving their sibling a turn with a toy that they are supposed to share. In some ways, tantrums are like the weather. They’re unpredictable, and they’re not something you can control or entirely prevent.

Consider the Reasons for Your Child’s Meltdown

While it’s worth noting that as a general rule, tantrums are not the fault of parents, there are plenty of times when children throw tantrums for important reasons. They might not have gotten a nap, they might be hungry, or they might be scared because they’re in an unfamiliar place.

If you know why your child is upset, and you can take steps to console them and address the reason, make the effort to do so.

Let Them Feel Their Feelings

Even when you’re calming your child down and trying to soothe them, it’s important to let them know they’re allowed to be upset.

You’re just trying to help them express those feelings in a different manner. Let your child know that it’s okay to be sad. After all, we all feel that way sometimes.

Stay Consistent with Your Boundaries

Yes, you’ll want to comfort your child and tell them that everything will be okay. However, what if your child is upset because you enforced a rule, or told them that a certain behavior wasn’t okay?

It’s important to stay firm on this. If you start rolling back boundaries because your child throws a tantrum, they will start testing you on this in the future. Remember, you can’t control how your child acts in this situation. But you do not have to stop implementing your own rules.

Take “Time Out” for Both You and Your Child

If you are home, and your child can safely spend some time alone in their room, it’s okay to send them into “time out” for a few minutes. This can provide an opportunity for your child to relax and collect themselves.

Additionally, it’s okay if you need to take a couple of minutes to yourself, too. As long as your child is safe at home, you’re allowed to retreat to your own room for a bit to take some deep breaths. Soon, you’ll be feeling much steadier and grounded.

Are you having trouble staying calm during child tantrums? A therapist can help you develop new coping strategies. Get in touch with us to discuss your options for individual or family therapy.




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