Time-outs, time-ins, ignoring, scolding, losing privileges, behavior charts, natural consequences, hugging it out—sometimes it seems like we’ve tried everything when it comes to tantrums—and it seems like everyone around us has an opinion on what we should be doing instead.
Dr. Rebecca Hershberg spoke to Fatherly about the best ways to cope with tantrums. There is no set age when we should expect them to disappear forever—even adults occasionally have tantrums! But the good news is that by the time children are in elementary school, they’ll start to have more control over their emotions. Parents can help by reacting with empathy, not getting caught up in being right or wrong, and anticipating their children’s triggers, like hunger or boredom—if you know there’s a long morning of errands planned, emergency snacks and small toys could be all that’s needed to help your children self-regulate!
—Consistency is important, but so is grace; try to react with love instead of focusing on being firm.
—When you know a stressful experience will be happening, plan ahead to give your child the best chance for success.
—Distraction is useful, but empathy is is the most important tool for connecting to upset children.