Being a parent is no easy feat, and perhaps one of the most daunting parts of being a parent, especially to a toddler, is handling a temper tantrum or calming them down when they are upset. And while there are various ways to handle such situations, some are much better than others.
Nothing will make a parent question their techniques more than a screaming kid. However, tantrums, screaming, and random upsets are normal. Remember, they are a tiny human, and much like big humans, they have big emotions too! Unfortunately, because they are little and because they haven’t learned how to handle or express their emotions, crying can sometimes be all they have.
Regardless of that, as their parent, it is our job to give them the tools necessary to calm down and recuperate from those big emotions. With that being said, here are 12 tips to help calm your little one down quickly.
1. Prepare in advance.
Bring your child’s favorite comfort object during a stressful trip, and make sure they are well-rested before taking them into an overstimulating environment. While it may sound obvious, making sure all of their needs are met before putting them in a stressful situation can make all the difference in the world.
2. Give them a little bit of control.
While you cannot allow them to have full control, because they are kids, give them a little bit. For example, if they are stressed because you are on a long car ride, let them pick a song or a treat.
3. Keep off-limit items out of sight & reach.
If you know your child will be tempted to play with something they aren’t allowed to have, keep it out of their sight. Otherwise, they may get it, or want it, and then be upset, leading to a tantrum.
4. Choose your battles.
Is there a request that bad? While you cannot let them do some things, like stay up all night, is it that bad to give them what they want at the moment from time to time? Choose your battles.
5. Know their limits.
If your little one hasn’t had a nap, it’s probably not the best time to take them on a shopping trip. If they haven’t eaten, it may be best to get them some fuel before going out to a friend’s. Remember, kids have limits too.
6. Distract them.
If they are upset, in the middle of a tantrum, distract them. Play soothing music, burst into dance, show them a funny video, and give them a reason to laugh.
7. Don’t yell.
As frustrated as you may be, don’t yell at them. Yelling at them is only showing them that it’s okay to burst out in anger when they are upset. Instead, remain calm and soothe them down.
8. Stop aggression in its tracks.
If they become aggressive, remove them from the situation immediately, and place them in time out. Or take away a privilege or favorite toy. Whatever you need to do (healthily and productively) make them stop.
9. Allow them to vent.
Sometimes, the only thing you can do is let them scream. I know it may be frustrating, but when it comes down to it, you cannot control them, all you can do is teach them how to control their own emotions. If all else fails, let them cry.
10. Count to 10.
Counting will help them to calm their breathing. Count to ten, slowly and loud enough for them to notice. If they can count, ask them to count with you.
11. Hug them.
Hug them and hold them tight. Rub their back and tell them you are here, and your support and love them and they are safe.
12. Press their acupuncture calm spot.
Alyssa Johnson, is a worker at Primary Child’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, according to her babies have a calm spot. She says to follow the curve around the top of their ear with your finger until it indents. Then, rub the spot in circular motions for five to ten seconds.