Temper Tantrums - Home Treatment
Do not be alarmed if the child
holds his or her breath. Children often hold their
breath during a temper tantrum. They will breathe again automatically, even if
they pass out. For more information, see the topic
There are some
things you can do to help prevent some temper tantrums. You may be able
Distract your child from his or her
frustration or take your child away from a situation that is likely to trigger
a tantrum. For example, if your child doesn't like to go to bed, about 20
minutes before bedtime talk about a fun activity that is going to occur the
next day. Reduce the need to say "no" to your child by childproofing your home.
Fewer rules need to be enforced if unsafe or breakable items are kept out of a
child's reach or sight.
Reduce how often temper tantrums occur
by giving your child simple choices and by listening to your child's concerns.
It also can help to provide a regular and predictable schedule for your child.
This is especially true during times that you expect your child may be more
prone to temper tantrums, such as when starting a new child care routine.
Establish regular times to eat and sleep to help your child to be in a good
state of mind.
In general, parents who know what to expect from their
child at different ages are better able to help their child grow and develop in
a healthy way. Talk with your doctor about how to help your child gain a sense
of independence, boost his or her self-confidence, and handle frustration and
If your child harms himself or herself or others during
temper tantrums, talk with your doctor about ways to stop these behaviors. Your
doctor may suggest that your child be evaluated for a behavior problem.
If your child
continues to have temper tantrums, you may want to use
time-outs. Time-out works best for children who
understand why it is being used. A time-out removes the child from the situation, allows him or
her time to calm down, and teaches the child that having a temper tantrum is
not acceptable behavior.
If you need to use time-out, it will be
important for you to also take time to be with your child (time-in). Time-in may
help reduce your child's frustration and lead to fewer temper tantrums. Time-in
is making frequent, brief contact with your child when he or she is
behaving as expected. For example, you can pat your child on the head while he
or she is playing quietly. This physical touch shows the child that you approve
of his or her behavior. Or you can make a comment such as, "I like it when you
sit quietly and look at your books when I am on the phone."