Expect your 1- or 2-year-old to have
temper tantrums. In this age group tantrums are a
normal part of learning independence and mastery. If your young child has
temper tantrums, try the following:
Ignore the behavior. Sometimes ignoring
the tantrum works best, especially since tantrums usually last less than 2
minutes, and attempts to stop a tantrum usually make it worse. When you stop
responding to your child's temper tantrums, the behavior may get worse for a
few days before it stops. Ignoring some temper tantrums (such as when a child
has one because he or she does not want to go to bed, or is kicking, biting,
and pinching) may not be possible.
Praise for calming down. After
a tantrum, comfort your child without giving into her or his demands. Tell your
child that he or she was out of control and needed time to calm down. Never
make fun of or punish a child who has had a temper tantrum. Don't use words
like "bad girl" or "bad boy" to describe your child during a temper
Acknowledge the feeling. After your child is calm,
acknowledge his or her feelings of frustration and anger. You might say, "I
know that you were frustrated because you could not tie your
Teach other ways to handle anger and frustration. Teaching
a child different ways to deal with negative emotions may reduce the number of
temper tantrums a child has or prevent temper tantrums from getting worse.
Offer simple suggestions to help a child learn self-control. For example,
encourage your child to use words to express feelings or establish a safe,
comfortable place in the home where your child can go to calm down. Notice and
praise good behavior.
Encourage taking a break from a frustrating
activity or redirect the child to a task he or she has already
Be a good role model. Children often learn by watching
their parents. Set a good example by handling your own frustration
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Staying where the
child can see you, especially if the child is very young.
the child to his or her room until he or she is calm, if the child is old
enough to understand why this is being done.
dangerous furniture or objects within the child's reach. If there are too many
objects that could hurt the child, you may need to move the child to a safe
place. Sometimes you may need to physically hold a younger child to prevent
Being firm and consistent about what you expect. Do not
give in to the child's demands.
Not trying to reason with the child
during the tantrum. Talk calmly to the child if this works for him or her. But
don't lecture, threaten, or argue with the child.