It’s hot outside and to add to the stress your little one is a hot emotional mess. For young children the long anticipated summer vacation can actually be a source of stress that triggers more temper tantrums than expected. What’s with all the drama? More importantly, how do you make it stop?
Temper tantrums are a common behavior in preschool children, typically peaking between ages 2 and 3, but school age children, even adults can have a tantrum from time to time. Tantrums usually result when children are frustrated and are not able to use their words to get needs or wants met. They usually are a public display after being told “no” to something he/she wants to do.
Causes of Temper Tantrums:
- Getting too hot
- Being overly hungry
- Too much time together
- Changes in routine
- If out of school or day care for the summer, routines may have changed.
- Summer traveling disrupts routines (bedtimes, naps, foods, toys, etc.). While fun and enriching for families, travel is filled with uncertainties and stress for children and adults.
- Inconsistent discipline
- Criticizing or correcting too much
- Not getting enough attention
How to Manage Temper Tantrums:
- Stay calm. Your calm reaction during a temper tantrum can make all the difference.
- Lessen the physical reasons children get overly stressed such as:
- Take frequent breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned building, to avoid overheating.
- Offer healthy snacks. Young children may need to eat every 2 hours to avoid the hangries (hunger caused anger)
- Always have water available and make sure children are drinking throughout the day.
- Plan a regular nap or quiet time each day. This can be tricky when on vacation, so get creative. Try a familiar movie on a laptop on a long car ride. Have a headset/ear plugs playing soothing music on a plane ride. Attend a story time at a local library. Take an afternoon break back at the hotel room. Plan a stroller ride in an air-conditioned shopping mall, etc.
- Children who went to school or daycare during the school year and who are now a home full time during the summer, might need a break from you and vice versa. Consider a play date at someone else’s house, or a baby sitter for a few hours once a week.
- Verbalize the situation to discover the reason for the temper tantrum. “I can see that you are upset. The way you are acting right now is not acceptable. If you can calm down, we can talk about it. Let’s have a sip of water and then talk about why you are angry.”
- Distract or redirect a misbehaving child. “I’m sorry but throwing toys is not a way to make me buy you what you want. When we get home you can play with your trucks and pick out a book for us to read together, what would you like to do first?”
- Give children attention and compliments for good behavior: “I really liked the way you asked for a snack.”
Enjoy your summer by learning more about Children’s Anger & Tantrums.