We all know the signs: the screaming, crying, red faces and tears. The almighty temper tantrum. Preschool years are fraught with them and it knocks parents off guard because they’re unsure of how to respond. That’s why we wrote this for you.
Know this: Preschoolers are emotional
Children are learning how to handle their emotions from an early age and play is the best way of expressing them. But just like every other human, they’re vulnerable to frustration and don’t know how to deal with it, other than scream it out.
Tantrums happen regularly between 1-3 years and will subside after the child turns four when they know how to express themselves better.
What causes tantrums?
As we said above, emotions play a critical factor. Children will let their displeasure be known if they feel:
- Stressed from hunger, tiredness, or too much stimulation
- Unable to cope with a situation such as bullying or a toy boing taken away
- Emotions like anger
What can I do?
First thing, don’t get angry or frustrated in turn. This just amps up the tantrum. Stay calm or distance yourself from your child until the tantrum has run its course.
Another thing to do is meet them with empathy. Understand what’s making them upset, whether it’s another child picking on them or something as simple as the music being too loud. In the latter case, take them away from that environment.
Find out what you can about why the tantrum happened in the first place so you can avoid triggers. Speak with your son or daughter about what made them upset.
Another way to cope with tantrums is to ignore the bad behaviour but reward the good. Children crave attention and will take note of what you respond to. It’s difficult but walking away from them will show that throwing a tantrum isn’t the way to get your time or praise.