Choose your battles wisely.
• Go ahead and give in a little sometimes, so that your child has a healthy sense of control. Key words are “a little sometimes”; giving your child too much control will only increase tantrums.
• Acknowledge or thank your child when she manages frustration or cooperates.
Set your child up for success.
• Know your child’s temperament and limits. Depending on your child, some days may be harder than others.
• Let your child know the day’s schedule so she knows your expectations and the general timing of the day’s events. Predictability can help.
• If tantrums happen when your child is hungry, have healthy snacks available both at home and out.
• If your child is tired, it might be better to miss an event and rest instead.
• Pay attention to any changes in your schedule or stress level; consider how they might affect your child.
• Develop strategies for transitions that your child may have difficulty with, like switching activities.
• Try using a timer to let your child know in five minutes “time is up.” If your child still has difficulty stopping, plan a time to return to the activity.
• Your child is dealing with never-ending changes as her body and brain develop. Establishing routines can be calming to her.
• Try to stay on schedule as much as possible, especially for eating, sleeping, and nap time.
• Do not ignore behaviors like hitting, kicking, or biting. Have a zero-tolerance policy. Help your child express feelings in play or words instead.
• Explain any changes in routines or caregiver so your child has plenty of time to prepare for these changes.
Empower your child.
• Throughout the day, offer your child several small choices that have two or three options to give her a sense of control. Do not leave the options too open. For example, you might ask, “Do you want to read a book or tell stories before you go to bed?” but not, “What do you want to do before you go to bed?”
• Let your child know that everyone feels angry sometimes, but that using words to express her frustrations can help find solutions.