The brain of a child in full tantrum mode is not able to think or reason. Don’t worry about giving instructions or trying to distract them if they’ve already lost it. You need to help them calm down first.
How you respond to the tantrum may depend on what is causing it in the first place. If your child regularly uses tantrums to try and get their own way, rather than out of genuine frustration, you may want to use the ‘ignore and wait it out approach’. If something specific has triggered the meltdown, using the three-step calming down process can be more effective and help them learn for next time.
When a tantrum is in full swing, try these three steps:
Sometimes just staying with them and making sure they’re safe until they’ve calmed down is all you can do.
Staying calm yourself is a winning strategy – so even if you’re feeling angry, try not to show it.
By staying in control you’re showing your kids how you’d like them to behave.
Check out more tips on our Staying calm with kids section.
Over it? Use your phone timer to set a time limit for a play activity – your full attention for five minutes is better than half pai for longer.
Had enough? You may feel like you need alcohol or drugs to relax – but they often make the situation worse, especially when you have to deal with kids. Who could help you cut down or cut it out?