We’ve all been there, your child doesn’t get his or her way – and result is a meltdown. The crying, screaming and defiance can send you over the edge, but it’s better to step away and take a moment to handle the situation. Parenting expert Bridget Barnes from Boys Town offers this advice, “When we begin to see the rumble-we’re going to teach. When children are in a rage-wait until things are calmed down, then when they recover-we are going to teach again. That will minimize the number of out of control behaviors you have over the course of the day.’
Here are 3 steps you should follow to reduce the number of tantrums in your household.
1. First, practice. At a neutral time and before you even leave the house, you should practice the skills you want your child to use. You should practice how to hold hands, accept “no”, and follow instructions.
2. Step away. Get out of the area. Attention is a reward that will increase the behavior. So, leave your cart with customer service and take your child to the car without a word. Put them in their car seat and wait quietly until they have calmed down.
3. Teach again. Before you go back in the store, have your child demonstrate that they know how to hold your hand and follow instructions. Practice in the car multiple times before you go back in.
The biggest thing that we can do as parents to minimize the number of tantrums is to be proactive. It’s okay to be mad, but it’s not okay to scream and cry on the floor. Teach them what they should do to calm themselves down. They can take a deep breath, count to five, or make a calm down kit that includes a whistle or a stress ball.