Try to remain calm. Spanking or screaming at your child only tends to make the tantrum worse instead of better. Set a positive example for your child by remaining in control of yourself and your emotions. Remember, never shake your child in response to a tantrum!
Pause before you act. Take at least 30 seconds to decide how you will handle the tantrum. Consider these four options for dealing with a tantrum: Distract – Try to get your child’s attention focused on something else. If he or she screams when you take him or her away from something unsafe (like your purse), offer him or her something else with which to play with.
Remove – Take your child to a quiet, private place to calm down. This should be a quiet “cooling down” place that is away from other children. Avoid trying to talk or reason with a screaming child. It doesn’t work! Ignore – Older children will sometimes throw tantrums to get attention. Try ignoring the tantrum and going about your business as usual. Hold – Holding an “out-of-control” child calmly is sometimes necessary to keep him or her from hurting himself or herself or someone else. Children don’t like to be out of control. It scares them. An adult who is able to take charge of the situation and remain calm and in control can be very reassuring.
Wait until your child calms down, then talk. It’s difficult to reason with a screaming child. Insist on a “cooling down” period, and follow up with a discussion about behavior. Use this opportunity to teach the child “OK” ways to handle anger and difficult situations. With practice, preschoolers and school-aged youth can learn how to ask for help, when to go somewhere to “cool down,” how to try a more successful way of doing something and how to express feelings with words (rather than hitting, kicking or screaming).
Comfort and reassure your child. Tantrums really scare most kids. Often, they are not sure why they feel so angry and feel rather shaken when it is all over. Your child needs to know that you disapprove of his or her behavior but that you still love him or her.