Meltdown Moments: 5 Top Tips for Managing Tantrums

Although we love our little ones to bits, we can’t pretend they’re angels all of the time. Here are some creative strategies for managing tantrums when they (inevitably) happen.

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managing tantrums

  1. Anticipate and plan
  2. Does your child get stroppy when they’re hungry (don’t we all)? Make sure you have a supply of snacks to hand when you’re out for the day. Your little Picasso likes to work on their latest masterpiece at the dining table while you cook? Suggest they move their studio to another part of the house, that way there will be no tantrums when you have to interrupt their creativity to sit down and eat.

  3. Mean what you say
  4. It’s important that you consistently follow through with the instructions you give. After all, if you don’t appear to take them seriously how can you expect your little terror to? It’s about picking your battles. If you’re running late and you think asking your child to clear away some toys might provoke world war three, leave them for now until you have time to deal with the situation properly.

  5. Stick to a routine
  6. Children like routines, they make them feel comfortable and settled. They know what’s going to happen next and they feel in control of the situation. If your little one can’t cope with change (let’s face it, neither can lots of adults), make sure you give them as much warning as possible if that routine has to be disrupted. This can work when changing activities too, if you’re at the park give your child a ten-minute warning before you have to stop all the fun and take them home.

  7. Give them a choice
  8. Often your toddler can feel like they’re 3 going on 13, and doesn’t understand why they keep being told what to do. Your mini teenager might just be desperate for some independence, and a sneaky way to placate them is by framing your instruction as choice (with the desired outcome by far the most attractive option). For example, rather than ‘hold my hand’ you could try ‘do you want to hold my hand or shall I put you in the buggy?’

  9. If all else fails…. distraction!
  10. If you’re at your absolute wits end and strangers in Sainsbury’s/on the tube/behind you on the plane are giving you that look while your little troublemaker is screaming and shouting like there’s no tomorrow, then there’s nothing else for it than to just try and divert your child’s attention. Point out anything and everything you think they might be interested in, and hopefully the chaos will subside (you might want to carry some bright, shiny things around for this very purpose). A toddler’s attention span is so short they will probably forget what seemed like the worse thing to ever happen to them in a few seconds.

About London Early Years Foundation

The London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) are the UK’s largest childcare social enterprise with 38 nurseries across London, 15 of which have been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. LEYF provides award winning care and education to children under 5 and were recently named ‘Nursery Group of the Year 2015’ by Nursery Management Today. They write regularly, sharing tips and advice on all things early years and child development from their expert nursery staff.

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