- What is a kid's temper tantrum?
- At what age are tantrums normal?
- Do tantrums mean autism?
- What is tantrum behavior?
- How do you stop kids having tantrums?
- What is the best way to handle a temper tantrum?
Tantrums are equally common in boys and girls, so it’s likely you’ll experience at least one in your life. Consider it an interesting challenge. Your worthy opponent (your child) isn’t going to make it easy for you! However, little do they know there are techniques you can use to discourage them from throwing another one.
We’re going to share all of our tips including what to do when your child is in the middle of a tantrum.
What is a kid's temper tantrum?
A kid's temper tantrum is when they act out physically and/or verbally from screaming to biting to breath-holding. These episodes happen when a young child has an emotional or physical need that isn’t being met (or to their liking). 🥺
A tantrum is your kid telling you how frustrated they are because they can’t verbally communicate what they want.
At what age are tantrums normal?
Of course, kids develop at their own pace, but tantrums usually start at around 1 year of age and continue until age 2 to 3. You’ve no doubt heard of the “terrible twos” and you can expect your two-year-old to have at least one (or probably more) tantrum at this age. You’ll be pleased to know that by the age of four, tantrums are generally much less common. 😄
If you react the right way when your child starts having tantrums then they’re much less likely to continue this behavior as they'll start to consider it ineffective.
Do tantrums mean autism?
No, not at all. Tantrums are a completely normal way for young children to try and get what they want, especially when they can’t talk. There are important differences between a temper tantrum and an autistic meltdown, although outwardly they can appear the same.
How to tell the difference between a temper tantrum and an autistic meltdown:
Motivation / Cause
Goal-oriented to fulfill a physical or emotional need
Results from an overload (sensory, emotional, or information) which is overwhelming
Physically being aggressive, loud, or breath-holding
Can display similar physical behavior as seen in tantrums or go into a complete shutdown and withdraw
A tantrum needs an audience of at least one person as it’s an outburst with a goal in mind
A meltdown can happen with or without an audience as it’s a reaction to sensory stimuli
What is tantrum behavior?
All kids are different and one child’s tantrum behavior can be different from another, even between siblings. Tantrum behavior usually consists of one or more of the following: biting, screaming, crying, breath-holding, kicking, hitting, or shouting.
All of these behaviors are loud or shocking on purpose. Your child is trying to catch your attention. 📣 Some kids rarely throw tantrums, while others have at least one a day.
Don’t worry, we have some simple but effective techniques for you to use to discourage future tantrums and how to act in the middle of one.
How do you stop kids having tantrums?
The best way to stop kids from having tantrums is to pre-empt your child’s needs and wants. Your little angel will usually start throwing a tantrum when they want attention, are annoyed, are feeling worried, or have a pressing physical need such as hunger or thirst.
Here are some top tips to help prevent tantrums:
- Carry plenty of snacks and water/drinks with you every time you leave the house, even if you think it will only be for 30 minutes (as you know, things change quickly with kids!).
- Plan outings around your child’s nap time so it doesn’t interfere with their all-important sleep. Remember your toddler needs a total of 10-14 hours of sleep each day.
- If you think a tantrum is coming, distract your child immediately by physically shifting their attention toward something interesting (e.g. a toy or animal outside) or giving them a big hug.
- Try to say “yes” more. Save your “no’s” for more important battles.
- Give your child some control throughout the day e.g. choosing their own outfit or food.
It’s not always possible to prevent a tantrum no matter how many tricks you try. Don’t be disheartened, even Super Nanny wouldn’t be able to win every battle.
We'd suggest that if temper tantrums are becoming a regular uncontrolled event, especially in older children, then it could be good to speak to an expert to find out if there is anything more going on.
What is the best way to handle a temper tantrum?
The best way to handle a temper tantrum is to stay calm. Your kid is already feeling stressed and frustrated so responding in a calm manner will help soothe them. There are a number of different tactics you can try depending on what your child needs. 💪
Let’s look at the most effective ways to handle tantrums as they happen. The strategy you use will vary depending on the type of tantrum and whether your child is in any danger of hurting themself.
- Hold them tightly and speak to them firmly while trying to find out their needs (e.g. hunger)
- Ignore the tantrum and even leave the room (as long as your child is in a safe environment)
- If their tantrum is about getting their way when you’ve already said “no” don’t give in or they will repeat the behavior
- Give your child a hug