If you have a child you know how quick they can all of a sudden have a temper tantrums. And isn’t it amazing that you don’t have to teach a child to have them or to do wrong but you do have to train them to do right.
There are many books and experts out there and so much parenting advice- which changes all the time. I have a child and have worked with children for many years but it wasn’t until I had my own that I really thought about how to train and raise my child.
To train and raise your child you need to have a vision of what type of person(adult) you want them to be when they grow up. Your vision will be different from mine. We are raising our children to be responsible adults (or I hope that is your plan!) What do you want their character to be? Godly? Kind? Diligent? Hard Worker? Patient? The list can go on for sure! Have a vision of your child as an adult and start instilling those character traits in them when they are young.
“Where there is no vision the people perish”
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
7 Ways to Minimize and Deal with Temper Tantrums(Character Training)
Meeting your child’s physical needs will help to minimize tantrums. Meeting the basic needs of getting enough sleep, food and drink, comfortable clothing and clean diaper goes a long way. If your child is really young they can’t tell you what they need and preschoolers are still figuring out what their needs are. Giving them the right words to know how to express themselves helps. And sometimes it can still be a guessing game 🙂 I feel this can be the easiest part to do out of all we need to do as a parent.
Meeting the emotional needs of your child. Making sure they feel loved, safe, comforted etc. Again we need to give them the words to know how to express how they are feeling and what they are needing. As a parent we need to be alert and able to pay attention to what our children need. It is so easy to get busy that we miss the little opportunities to meet needs and be present in the moment. Maybe they really just need some extra cuddles with mom or a little one on one time. Filling up their love tanks can turn the day around.
Our children are learning and growing everyday. They make new discoveries and connections. They are quick! They take in so much. We need to fill their needs for knowledge and growth. We also need to guard their minds from becoming over stimulated and stressed.
We personally don’t have light up flashy noise making toys as we feel these are more entertainment, take away from their creativity and learning. We want our child(ren) to learn more than to push buttons and look at lights. We live in a day in age were there are soooo many electronics and finding a balance is going to be different for each family be it battery operated toys, to tablets or TV. Professionals say no TV until age 2 and that is a good standard but we all have to know what is best for our child and how it affects them. And sometimes mommy just needs a shower so a show is a lifesaver 🙂
Also how many decision you let your child make. As adult we KNOW the stress of decision-making and somewhere along the way, we as a society have come to let small children make LOTS of decisions some to the point I wonder who is in charge the parent or the child. We hit a realization when my daughter was about 2 that letting her make too many decisions was what has causing much stress for all of us and lots of tantrums. YOUR CHILD doesn’t need to decide what they wear, what color of cup they use if they are going to play or take a bath. Do children need to learn how to make decisions? Oh Yes but every little detail gets overwhelming. Think about how YOU get overwhelmed when you have to make many decisions. Limit the amount of decision-making your small child does. Decision making can cause stress and temper tantrums. When we started to limit the amount of decisions we let our daughter make the tantrums were cut in half over time. Does she ever decide what color cup she wants to use absolutely but she no longer makes that decision daily and doesn’t have a fit when she doesn’t get what she wants.
Understandable Simple Rules
Keep your rules simple and understandable. Keep it so they can remember them easily and keep it the same. Don’t let the rules be wishy-washy changing as your mood changes or just because it is more convenient for you in the moment that later you have a new rule. Rules that are simple and understandable will lay clear boundaries. Hold your boundaries because you know those sweet little angels are going to try to push them.
Here are two examples of our rules.
If it is not food it doesn’t go in your mouth.
Once your baby/toddler is pass the mouthing stage which I would say is about 16 months of age (I know some children have sensory issues, know what is right for your child). We start to train that toys do not go in their mouth. You are going to have to train them.
By having this clear understandable simple rule toys (or other objects) don’t go in the mouth, which for our daughter opened the door to play with smaller piece toys, sensory bins with small pieces without having to worry is she going to put it in her mouth and choke? Is she going to eat the marker or crayons? She know the rule, has been trained and I have to hold the boundary.
If it is not a toy we don’t play with it.
Oh how my hubby made me hold this boundary! And when I listen oh how much my life got easier. How clearer it was for my daughter too. No wishy-washy rule that changes. Is mommy’s phone a toy? Are house keys a toy? No, then they don’t play with it. Where is your toy? Clear simple rules keep life pleasant for all involved and no tantrums over why one minute I can play with your phone to the next I can’t.
As a parent we need to lead by example to our little ones. They see and hear everything…even when you don’t think they will 😉 Character and much of life is caught not taught. Oh there is teaching but you can’t expect your child to do something if you don’t. Monkey see monkey do. Want your child to pick up their toys? Show them how and pick up your own stuff. What your child to love reading? Read to them but be a reader yourself. Be an example to your child, which if very humbling.
Practice and Guidance
When instilling new habits, character traits you will have to give your child guidance and practice. You will have to teach or show them how and what you expect. You will have to teach them to calm down, to think and express themselves. Give them plenty of time to practice and the guidance they need. If you expect obedience the first time give your clear simple command and make sure they do what you asked.
When in the training stage you will need to give them the guidance. Maybe taking them gently by the hand and leading them to the area or object you of what you said. Don’t repeat yourself over and over and you shouldn’t need to if what you asked was clear and simple. Know if your child needs one step commands or if they can handle 2-3 steps.
If you’re repeating yourself over and over then will learn that they don’t have to obey until mommy is stressed, yelling and well it was the 10th time she told me. This is the teaching stage. Give them clear simple expectation and the guidance they need until the have it down.
As a parent this the hard part (well the teaching can be too!) Follow through. YOU have to follow through with what you expect and what you say. If you don’t to X then X will happen. Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.
One thing we do in our house is a responsibility chart. My daughter is almost 4. There are 8 responsibilities on her chart ranging from really easy to areas that she needs to work on. Not only does this create a visual for her it is a reminder to me to be diligent in my expectations and teaching.
We as parent have to teach our child to be responsible for their actions and keep them accountable but in that we have to keep ourselves accountable and how easy it is to become lackadaisical.
I have found that when I consistently practice these 7 different areas there are less temper tantrums from both child and adult (because honestly we still sometimes have adult tantrums they just look different) 😉
What has helped you to minimize and deal with temper tantrums?