Temper Tantrum In Toddler
Everyday is a brand new day.
Each day I learned new things about my beloved toddler KiruMi-cHan and lovely baby ReiHi-cHan.
KiruaMi-cHan will be 3 years old at the end of this month.
I want to teach him new thing for both of us: How to Help Toddler Express Anger Constructively.
Recently, KiruaMi-cHan reacted his anger when he did not get 100% attention from me or my hubby.
I tried to take this in positive ways, keep on praying and I had made some research from the Internet regarding to this issues.
Luckily, I found Dr. Michele Borba articles that was so great for me to follow those step in guiding my toddler.
- What is temper?
Temper tantrums or “acting-out” behaviors are natural during early childhood development.
As children learn to separate from their parents (that is, as they learn that they are separate beings), they have a normal and natural tendency to assert their independence.
This desire for control often manifests as saying “no” often and having tantrums, which are compounded by the fact that the child may not have the vocabulary to adequately express his or her feelings.
Tantrums generally begin between the ages of 12 to 18 months, peak between 2 and 3 years, then decrease rapidly until age 4 after which they should be seldom seen.
- How to deal?
Being tired, hungry, or sick can make tantrums worse or more frequent. I do make sure that my child eats and sleeps at his or her usual times.
Sometimes, if he no longer takes a nap, I’ll keep in mind that it is still important to have some quiet time. We lying down for 15 to 20 minutes resting while I read stories for him at regular times of day can help prevent his tantrums.
When my child has a temper tantrum, it is important for me to remain calm. It helps me to remember that tantrums are normal — they are NOT my fault, I am NOT a bad parent, and my son and daughter is NOT a bad child.
As for me, shouting at or hitting my child will only make the situation worse. A quiet, peaceful response and atmosphere, without “giving in” or breaking the rule that I have just set, will reduce stress and make both of us feel better.
I always remember that children imitate behavior. I also try gentle distraction to activities that they enjoy or try making a funny face.
When I am not at home during a tantrum, I try to carry my child to a quiet place like inside a rest room, keeping him safe with me until the tantrum has ended.
I started with:
- Model Calmness.
The best way to teach kids how to deal with anger constructively is by showing them through my example!
After all, we don’t learn how to calm down by reading about it in a book, but by seeing someone do it.
I used those frustrating experiences as “on-the-spot lessons” of ways to calm down.
Here’s an example:Suppose I get a phone call from the bookstores saying that my order have been delay. I am furious! Standing nearby is my toddler hearing the conversation and now watching you very closely. Muster every ounce of calmness and use it as an instant anger control lesson: “I am so angry right now”
I calmly told my toddler. “The bookstores just delay our orders.”
Then offer a calm-down solution: “I’m going on a quick walk so I can get back in control.” I am now a living example of calmness, and that example is what my child will copy.
- Exit and Calm Down.
One of the toughest parts of parenting is when children address their anger towards us.
If I am not careful, I will find his anger fueling emotions in me that I never realized were in me.
Beware: Anger is contagious. It’s best to make a rule in your home from the start:”In this house we solve problems when we’re calm and in control.”
And then consistently reinforce the rule.
Here’s an example of how I used it:
When my child is angry and wants a quick solution, I said, “I need a time out. Let’s talk about this later” and then exit calmly and don’t answer back.
Exiting calmly then talking is especially difficult rule to uphold when you’re dealing with aggressive kids who love power struggles. Sometimes I looked at him saying, “You sound upset. Let’s talk when you’re in control,” and walked away.
- Develop a Feeling Vocabulary.
Many kids display anger because they simply don’t know how to express their frustrations any other way.
Kicking, screaming, swearing, hitting or throwing things may be the only way they know how to show their feelings.
Asking this kid to “tell me how you feel” is unrealistic, because he may not have learned the words to tell you how he is feeling!
To help him express his anger, I created a feeling word poster together saying: “Let’s think of all the words we could use that tell others we’re really angry” then list his ideas.
Here’s a few: angry, mad, frustrated, furious, irritated, ticked off, irate, and incensed. I wrote them on a chart, hang it up, and practice using them often.
When my toddler is angry, I used the words so he can apply them to real life: “Looks like you’re really angry. Want to talk about it?” or “You seem really irritated. Do you need to walk it off?”
Then keep adding new emotion words to the list whenever new ones come up in those great “teachable moments” opportunities throughout the day.
- Develop an Awareness of Early Warning Signs
I explained to my toddler that we all have little signs that warn us when we’re getting angry.
We should listen to them because they can help us stay out of trouble.
Next, I helped my toddler recognized what specific warning signs he may have that tells him he’s starting to get upset such as, “I talk louder, my cheeks get flushed, I clench my fists, my heart pounds, my mouth gets dry and I breathe faster.”
Once he’s awared of them, I started pointing them out to him whenever he first starts to get frustrated. “Looks like you’re starting to get out of control.” or “Your hands are in a fist now. Do you feel yourself starting to get angry?“.
I’ve found that the more we help our kids recognize those early angry warning signs when their anger is first triggered, the better they will be able to calm themselves down.
It’s also the time when anger management strategies are most effective.
Anger escalates very quickly, and waiting until a child is already in “melt down” to try to get her back into control is usually too late.
- Teach Anger Control Strategies.
A very effective strategy for helping kids to calm down is called “3 + 10.”I printed the formula on large pieces of paper and hang them all around your house.
Then I told my toddler how to use the formula: “As soon as you feel your body sending you a warning sign that says you’re losing control, do two things. First, take 3 deep slow breaths from your tummy.”(Please, please model this with your child. I showed him how to take a deep breath. I told him to pretend he’s riding an escalator. Start at the bottom step and as you take the breath ride up the escalator slowly. Hold it! Now ride slowly down the escalator releasing your breath steadily at the same time).
“That’s 3. Now count slowly to ten inside your head. That’s 10. Put them all together, it’s 3 + 10 and it helps you calm down.”
- Final Thoughts
Teaching kids a new way to deal with their anger constructively is not easy; especially if they have only practiced aggressive ways to deal with their frustrations.
Research tells us learning new behaviors; such as recognizing anger triggers, exiting then talking, 3 +10–take a minimum of 21 days of repetition.
Here’s are the recommendationone minute a day for 21 days” and it instantly becomes more realistic.
Besides, the possibility your child will really learn the new skill will be much stronger, because he’s been practicing the same technique over and over, and that’s exactly the way you learn any new skill.It’s also the best way to stem the onslaught of violence and help our kids lead more successful, peaceful lives. You do make a difference!
- (as I read in Dr Michele Borba articles):Choose one skill your child needs to be more successful and emphasize the same skill a few minutes every day for at least 21 days! After he learns that skill, then teach the next (and the next and the next).Think of your teaching as ” that I had tried to prevent tantrums include:
- Use an upbeat tone when asking my toddler to do something. Make it sound like an invitation, NOT an order. For example, “If you help me to clean up your toys, I’ll read you new story book.”
- Make rules count. In other words, don’t battle over unimportant things. Safety is what really matters, like not touching a hot stove, not playing in the street, etc.As the American Academy of Pediatrics experts put it “while [your toddler] will be saying no to everything…, you should be saying no only the few times a day when it is absolutely necessary.”
- Offer choices whenever possible. For example, letting my toddler pick what clothes he wants to wear, stories he wants to read, etc.If a toddler feels independent in many areas, he or she is more likely to follow rules when it is a must. DO NOT offer a choice if one doesn’t truly exist.
It is recommends that you call your pediatrician if:
- Tantrums get worse instead of better after age four.
- Your child injures him or herself or others or destroys property during tantrums.
- Youd child holds his or her breath during tantrums, especially if he or she faints.
- Your child also has nightmares, reversal of toilet training, headaches, stomachaches, refuses to eat or go to bed, anxiety, or excessive clinginess to parents.
Please mommies, let us know our child in better way. Wish you all the best in teaching your sweet toddler 😉