Show Your Kids How to Throw a Temper Tantrum -
by Susie E. Caron © 2/22/2015
I want to teach you how to show even very young children (3 & up) how to have a safe temper tantrum. You may think,
“This is crazy! The last thing I want to do is to encourage my kids to have tantrums.”
Maybe so, but I’ll bet you worry when your kids tantrum so hard that they begin to hurt themselves, or others, or even destroy property. I’ll be you don’t enjoy it when your children yell and say terrible things to you and other family members.
What if you could do something to make sure your child is safe, at least while tantruming? What if doing something pretty simple also reduces the length and severity? The little drill, that I am about to teach you, does both. Even if you have children who tantrum for over an hour this little demonstration really helps keep them safe, reduces the severity of the tantrum and the length of time it continues. Here’s how.
One day, gather your kids together, and excitedly tell them,
“I’ve learned how to have a really good, safe tantrum and I’m going to teach you how.”
Invite them to follow you to your bedroom. There, YOU will lay on your bed face down and say,
“Now watch because this is how I want you to have your tantrums from now on - and stay safe.”
While lying on your bad face down, begin to yell or cry into your pillow, pound on your bed with your fists, and kick your toes on the mattress. Don’t make it too scary (especially if your kids are of preschool age) but make it pretty convincing. In about 30 seconds, abruptly stop, look at them and say,
“Are you watching? Because I want you to learn how to do this correctly. Now watch.”
Then begin to pound the bed and yell again.
Continue for about 30 seconds more and stop. Next, get up and encourage them to go to their beds to practice. Depending on their ages, they may or may not want to 'practice' and that’s okay. Just let them go back to playing and remind them,
“Okay, But remember this is how you will have a safe tantrum from now on, and I'll remind you to get on your bed if you need to feel your feelings in a tantrum."
After demonstrating safe tantrums, you have accomplished three amazing things:
1. Your children will never, ever again tantrum without picturing you, on your bed, face down, performing a tantrum in front of them. (Can you imagine?!)
2. Your children will not enjoy their tantrums, as much as they did at first, because you just gave them permission to have tantrums. (But don't worry, they will likely do them less because you took the fun and power out of performing.)
3. You will have provided a way to send the ‘ready to tantrum’ children to their rooms as soon as you notice the possibility of a tantrum erupting. Just say,
“Oh quick, go to your bed and have your tantrum, I want you to be safe.”
These steps will help your young children to stop tantruming. Try it! It's safe. It's fun and it works.
PS. For children under 3 years it is best to use other means to calm them. What you do depends upon the situation and the child's temperament. Children under 3 years old need you to teach them how to 'self-soothe' so they can calm down and rejoin the family fun.
What do you think about demonstrating tantrums to your kids? Please comment below.
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Susie E. Caron
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!