Reducing the frequency of temper tantrums

Temper tantrums are not intentional or planned. They are a normal response to anger and other strong emotions. You can help reduce the frequency of temper tantrums:

  • Establish and keep a regular schedule that includes enough hours of sleep and times set aside for eating meals. Having a predictable routine can help your child to feel in control and stay positive.
  • Know what to expect from your child based on his or her age and abilities. Parents who expect too much often correct their child more than they need to or ask the child to do things that he or she is not able to do. This increases the child's frustration.
  • Allow your child to make simple choices, such as which vegetable to eat or which shirt to wear. Being able to make choices reduces frustration and helps children develop self-confidence.
  • Set fair, consistent, and firm limits on the child's behavior. Say "no" when you mean "no." When you say “no,” don't change your mind and give in to the child's wishes. This confuses children or teaches them that “no” sometimes means “yes.”
  • Praise and thank the child when he or she behaves appropriately and does things that you would expect from a child that age.
  • Listen to the child's concerns and reasons for having a different opinion or idea than you do.

Last Updated: November 20, 2008

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