There’s nothing worse, than when you’re in the shops and your child starts having a tantrum. They’re kicking, crying, yelling. Wailing louder than you’ve ever heard.
It may feel embarrassing for you, and the end of the world for your little one! You feel like you just want to grab your child and high-tail it out of there to the car, head back home and never go shopping again.
I feel you! I’ve been there, and in fact- all parents have or will at some point.
Learning how to effectively and calmly support your child through a tantrum is a fantastic skill to have and, quite frankly, makes you a super parent!
Here’s something I want you to know and remember – TANTRUMS ARE NORMAL!
A child has a tantrum because their frontal Lobe in their brain hasn’t completely developed yet, so they cannot be reasoned with or control those big emotions just yet. Feeling intense anger over not getting a lollypop is normal. Feeling unbelievably frustrated because they didn’t get to put the bread in the trolley- also normal. It is your job to help them manage those big feelings and show them that no matter what, or no matter how angry they get, that you will be right there to support them, calm them or cuddle them. They need to know that nothing they can do during a tantrum will upset you or turn you away.
Easier said than done, right?! You probably want nothing more than to shout back and start crying yourself. BUT, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that this is not personal. Here are some things that you can SAY when your child is having a tantrum.
- ‘I can see you’re feeling so sad about that’
- ‘It can be really hard when you don’t get to have what you want’
- ‘you seem really upset. It can be really frustrating when you don’t get what you want’
- ‘you’re feeling really angry about __ taking your toy. I understand
Acknowledging their feelings and validating them helps enormously. People, young and old, just want to be heard and understood.
- Sit with your child and put your arms out to offer a hug.
- Gently touch your child on the shoulder or back to let them know you’re nearby (or use firm touch- whatever your child responds best to!)
- Move any objects away from the child that might cause them harm if they are being quite physical.
Honestly, you’ve got this. Kids just want to feel heard and respected, just like we do as adults. We all want to feel as though our feelings are valid and that we are held in a safe space to express our feelings without being reprimanded. Next time your child has a tantrum, try these tips and tricks and let us know how you went!