Meltdowns are terrible, nasty things, but they’re a fact of childhood. When your kid is in the middle of a tantrum, it can be tough to keep yourself from having your own meltdown, too.
To help you get through those trying times we asked Dr Amulya Mysore to help parents understand and handle those tantrums more effectively. She is the Paediatrician and Specialist in Child Development at Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Secunderabad. Loves crafting with her daughter, and believes strongly in the holistic development of children.
KE: At what age do temper tantrums occur for children?
Dr. Amulya:This usually occurs between 1 ½ to 4 years of age.
KE: How does it vary with age? Will they decrease slowly?
Dr. Amulya: At 1 ½ years of age, your child wants to see how far they can go with their behaviour.
At 2 years children cannot see another point of view. They want independence and self control to explore the environment. When they cannot reach their goal they show their frustration by crying, arguing, yelling or hitting, this is basically to get what they want.
At 3 years of age your child becomes less impulsive, temper tantrums are less frequent and less severe, however, he/she knows, it’s a good way to get what he/she wants.
By 4 Years of age, your child attains better language skills, this allows them to express their anger. They also learn how to solve the problem and to compromise.
KE:What can I do when my child is showing temper tantrums?
First control your own anger, count to 10 to control your anger first.
Think about the cause of the tantrum.
Before the child’s tantrum increases, try to intervene by looking into child’s eyes and asking him/her to calm down.
Distracting the child is a good option e.g, if he is crying for some unsafe item; replace it with an appropriate toy.
If the tantrum is only for your attention, the best way is to ignore it.
You can have “time out” for your child. It is a quiet place where he/she can calm down and think reasonably. It is 1 min for each year of age with a maximum of 5min. Timeout should be followed by welcoming him/her with a hug and affectionate words.
If the child becomes violent and out of control and is going to hurt himself/herself then hold him/her till he/she calms down.
KE: Once my child has calmed down, what should I do?
Dr.Amulya: 1.Talk to him and help him solve the problem.
2.Never give into a tantrum. This will only increase the number of tantrums.
3. Do not reward him/her for calming down.
4. Make the child realize that what he/she has done is not acceptable.
5. Do not physically hit him/her, because it will only increase his/her stubbornness.
KE: How can I prevent my child from having a tantrum?
Dr. Amulya: 1. Keep a sense of humour.
3. Let your child know before reaching the end of activity so that they are prepared for change; e.g; 10 minutes from now, the TV will be switched off.
4. Increase your tolerance level and avoid fighting over minor things.
5.To avoid boredom you can say “Lets play a game”
6. Teach your child to make a request rather than ordering.
7. Distract the child and change his/her environment and say “Lets go to the park” or “Lets read this book”.
8. Try to keep objects which you don’t want to give, out of sight.
9. Make the child feel a little responsible by giving him/her options to do small things “e.g. Which one do you want to do first” When you want them to do an activity do not give them an option. Eg: “Do your homework”? Is what you should say rather than “Would you like to do your homework now”?
If you have any questions for Dr. Amulya, you can mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will answer them for you. You can also visit www.gibo.co.in that is developed by her and answers all questions on parenting and more.