As parents of preschoolers or one who spends time with them, you may be at a loss for how to deal with preschool temper tantrums. Using the following ideas may give you the tools you need to deal with temper tantrums effectively and have a better behaved child, too. Why do preschoolers have temper tantrums in the first place? You expect toddlers to have them when they’re unable to communicate their wants or needs, but preschoolers should be past that, shouldn’t they? Actually, understanding why a preschooler has tantrums can be the first step in knowing how to deal with them. Preschoolers are toddlers with a year or more life behind them, so itís not unusual for them to have tantrums for the same reasons. Those reasons include:
- Being tired due to too much activity
- Being hungry while on the go
- Not getting what they want when they want it
- Being angry or frustrated
- Feeling neglected and wanting attention
- Wanting to be able to do things for themselves but not being able to yet
How you handle temper tantrums now may play a large part in how your preschooler acts when he or she gets older. Incorrect handling could very well lead to behavior problems in the future. While having tantrums is a normal part of your preschoolerís development, how you choose to react and deal with them is entirely up to you. No matter how embarrassing your preschooler acts in public, don’t give in to them. It’s important for them to learn that you are the adult and you make the decisions. You’ll also want to be sure to tell them you love them and you’re telling them ‘no’ for a good reason.
Try to do your best to stay cool during this trying circumstance. Tell your child you understand they are frustrated, hungry, or tired. Ask them to calm down and help you decide how to work it out. They need to know you’ll listen and that you want to help them learn to deal with their own frustrations. If they calm down, give them a toy you brought from home to distract them until you can finish what youíre doing.
You can model good behavior for them by not losing your cool or raising your voice, no matter how much you might want to. If you can remain calm in the face of a preschooler in the middle of a meltdown, your demeanor may calm them down, too. Reacting poorly yourself may encourage the child to throw more tantrums because it shows their behavior will elicit a response.
Remove the child from the location if you have to, even if that means leaving a full buggy of groceries at the front of the store. (You can tell them youíll be back when your child has calmed down; maybe they wonít restock everything while youíre gone.) Put your preschooler in their car seat and tell them you wonít go back into the store until they calm down and can act politely. Then ignore them until their behavior improves.
As a parent or caregiver of a preschooler, you want to know how to deal with their temper tantrums. Remember to bring along a snack or something for your preschooler to do if youíre going to be away from home for a while. This may help you avoid a temper tantrum which is better than having to deal with it.