Temper tantrums can be frustrating for a parent and exhausting for a child. Most common between ages 1 and 3, they are a normal part of children's development. A child may throw a tantrum -- crying, screaming, biting, kicking or hitting -- either because she can't explain how she feels or because she is trying to get something she wants. There are some strategies parents can use to control their child's tantrums.
Avoid the Tantrum
The best way to control a tantrum is to keep it from happening, if possible. For example, if you know your toddler is tired, don't take him shopping. If you know he screams for your iPhone every time he sees it, place it out of his sight. Sometimes a child will throw a tantrum if he feels he has no control. Let him choose between an apple or a banana for snack time or ask if he wants his milk in the blue cup or the red one. Giving him choices will help him feel more independent and in control.
No matter how upset or unreasonable your little one may become during a tantrum, it is your job to remain calm. Showing your frustration may worsen the tantrum. Hitting or spanking your child can lead to an increase of negative behavior from her. Your child relies on you to set an example, and your own calmness may help to calm her down.
One of the best ways to extinguish a tantrum is to ignore it. Children often throw tantrums just to get attention. If your child is in a safe place, leave him alone and don't respond to him. If there is no audience, the tantrum may quickly blow over on its own. You may want to move your child to a room where there are no people or toys to give him time to calm down. Alternatively, if you are in public, you may want to take him to the car. If moving your child isn't an option or if he is becoming out of control, you may need to hold him firmly for a few minutes so he doesn't hurt himself.
Don't Give In
If your child is throwing a tantrum because she wants something, don't give it to her. Doing so will teach her that her behavior will eventually be rewarded. It can be embarrassing for a child to lose a battle, so don't focus on the tantrum after it is over. You can tell your child you're glad she's feeling better or proud of her for regaining control, then move on to normal activities.