How to Prevent Future Tantrums From Happening
Understanding the logic behind tantrums is an important step in preventing them. Read our previous story here in case you missed it. Now that you understand the brain of a toddler, you now have the upper hand in managing their tantrums and outbursts. With careful observation and appropriate planning, you can curb tantrums by sticking with routines, setting expectations, giving choices (and consequences), giving them something to do, and knowing their triggers.
Setting (and sticking to) schedules will be a lifesaver in preventing tantrums. If your child’s scheduled nap time is at 1, don’t plan on going to the store during that time. The likelihood of a tantrum occurring is very high when your child is out of their routine or schedule. If you must go out during naptime, have a babysitter or a friend/family member watch your child while you run errands. This will help regulate (or avoid) any emotional outbursts. If you plan on going shopping anywhere, take some snacks and water with you in case your child gets hungry or thirsty.
Set expectations for your kids, give them choices and have consequences if they don’t follow through. Before entering the store or going to the park, etc, let your child know what to expect during this trip. This is an effective communication tool for you and your child. According to Your Village Online, setting expectations, giving choices, and giving consequences are effective methods of communication and increase cooperation. For example, if you want your kids to cooperate in the store (without running off) tell them the following:
- Set the expectation: “I need you to stay close to the cart inside the store
- Give choices: “You can hold my hand or ride in the cart.”
- Give the consequence: “If you try running off, you will have to stay in the cart the whole time.”
Avoid using tablets and smartphones. As much as a lifesaver they are, we can’t rely on technology to teach your kids good behavior. Yes, it could divert a tantrum and prevent your child from acting up in the store, but in the long run, your children aren’t learning any skills when you hand off your phone or tablet. According to Mikki with Quirky and the Nerd, “if you want your child to behave in the store, they need to actually learn how to behave instead of being distracted from the task at hand.”
Your children are missing out on opportunities to learn, socialize, and interact with the world around them when their eyes are glued to a tablet while you shop. Instead, you can find educational ways to entertain your child while you shop.
Give your child a job. If you’re at the store, give your kid something to do. You can ask them to count apples, place items in the cart, or spotting items that begin with different letters. Sheila Wray Gregoire, a blogger for “To Love, Honor, and Vacuum”, gives a great list of activities to entertain your kids in the grocery store and even categorized them by age.
She states that “Children are naturally curious. Their job, as a child, is to learn about the world and how it works. That’s what they start doing from the moment they are born. Our job is to help them… And the neat thing is that the more you interact with them and talk to them and spend time with them (even if it’s just while you’re on errands), then the more they give you free time at home.”
If children are looking for attention by throwing tantrums, they want you to react because it could be attention they are craving. If you notice a pattern in your child’s tantrums, keep an eye out for those so you know what will cause a tantrum.
Know and recognize their triggers. Half the battle of tantrums is knowing what triggers your child into one. As stated earlier, if hunger is a trigger for tantrums, make sure they’re fed. Your Village online also mentions how finding triggers and patterns in your child’s behavior. You can download a chart to keep track of different triggers in your child’s tantrums.