Temper tantrums are a common characteristic in toddlers, as it is how they express their frustration or inability to communicate their needs. However, older kids may also have occasional temper tantrums. It isn’t uncommon for a 5 or 6-year-old child to throw a tantrum when they don’t get what they want, they feel ill, or they’re uncomfortable.
Since the cognitive ability of a 5-year old is much more adequate than a toddler’s, it is crucial for parents to handle tantrums quickly before it escalates out of control.
Here is what you can do if your child has frequent temper tantrums.
Identify Likely Triggers
If your child regularly throws tantrums in a specific situation, avoid the trigger or give them a warning in advance. For instance, if they always throw a fit at the candy aisle in the supermarket, tell them you will not be buying any candy before you enter the store.
Say NO if they still insist, and don’t give in if they throw a fit! Remove them from the situation even if it means leaving your shopping unfinished. This will teach your child that they cannot have their way by disrupting things.
Ignore Certain Tantrums
Handle tantrums at home and in a public place differently. If you are at home, you can ignore a tantrum if it is for an unreasonable demand. This teaches your child that their behavior is unacceptable, and they will soon give it up.
Avoid reasoning or yelling back. Such actions reinforce the idea that tantrums get attention and will encourage them to use it again.
Discuss Their Behavior When Both of you Are Calm
If your child frequently throws tantrums, it is essential to discuss this behavior with them. Sit them down when they are calm and tell them why this behavior isn’t acceptable.
Give them specific examples of when they acted up, and why it wasn’t right. Motivate them to behave well in the future by praising them for their behavior at times when they handled their frustration well.
Choose Consequences That Matter
Tell your child that there will be consequences if they continue with this behavior. Time-outs and removal of privileges are usually sufficient. Be consistent in following through with the consequence every time the behavior is displayed, and your child will attempt to control it in the future.
While you can control most tantrums at home, seek professional help if your child’s tantrums become violent, or they cause injury to themselves or others. A detailed evaluation is also suggested if their tantrums grow in frequency or if it is for prolonged durations.