8 Tantrum solutions

Oct 7, 2009 at 12:27 p.m. ET

If you're reading this, chances are you've been on the wrong side of a previously unruffled child who has morphed into an unrecognizable, red-faced crying machine!

While tantrums are a normal part of development, knowing that doesn't make them any less frustrating to cope with. Try these eight tips from SheKnows Canada.

Preventative measures

In an ideal world, the tantrum would never occur in the first place. When children go too long without eating, or are overtired, they tend to have short fuses. Boredom can cause kids to become irritable, and overstimulation can lead to completely unreasonable, kicking and screaming tots. Taking measures to steer clear of these scenarios will go a long way in cutting down on tantrums!

Keep your cool

If you give in to feelings of frustration and throw a tantrum of your own, not only can it be scary for a child, it's also bound to feed the fire. By staying calm, you are reassuring the out-of-control youngster, as well as modeling the desired behavior. Using a quiet voice will show that you're in control, which may help diffuse the situation.

Lose thelogic

Forget any ideas you have about holding a reasonable conversation with a child in the midst of a tantrum. Likewise, debating with them will prove futile, and may very well cause the incident to escalate. Leave the discussions for later.

Play it safe

Children in the throes of a temper tantrum can get pretty out-of-control. It's best to move them to a safe place when at all possible - somewhere that they cannot hurt themselves, anyone else or break anything as they flail about. Sometimes a change of scenery will even prompt a wind-down of the episode.

Get on their wavelength

If the tantrum began because you had to say no to something, let them know that you understand their feelings on the matter. Physically get on their level too - look them in the eye and make a connection in order to communicate empathy more effectively.

Divert and amuse

This tactic may not work with all children, but some will allow their attention to be redirected to a book, or interesting activity. You may also try dancing, singing, or making funny faces - this approach won't fly with some kids, but others will forget all about screaming and start laughing!

Pay no heed

In the face of a tantrum, try continuing to go about your business as though it isn't happening at all. This sounds challenging - and it is - but left to their ridiculous demands and pointless raging, many tots will quickly realize the tantrum is futile, and will stop. Others may keep the tantrum going until it fizzles out, and as long as the environment is safe, this is fine. Sensitive children may feel upset by this approach, and it should not be used for them.

Time to reflect

Giving time-outs works brilliantly with some children, and may be just the cooling off period a rampaging rugrat needs to regain composure. Impose a short, set time-out for younger children, and consider letting an older child rejoin the family when they feel ready to talk rationally.

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