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Monday, June 19, 2006

How to Avoid Tantrums in Kids of All Ages

How to Avoid Tantrums in Kids of All Ages
By Anna-Marie Stewart

Let’s face it, kids will be kids and they can’t possibly always be happy with every single decision that is made for them. Even from a very young age a child realizes that he/she is, in fact, a REAL person, with feelings, thoughts and emotions. This often leads to them wanting to do things their own way, making their own choices, or just not wanting to do as they’re told.

Here’s a scenario: your child is sitting happily playing with building bricks, or maybe playing on a games console, totally engulfed in his or her own world, and it’s time for dinner. You ask your child to drop what they’re doing there and then, to tidy up quickly, to leave their ‘happy place’ and come eat. Your child refuses to do as asked, wondering within why on earth you’re being mean and spoiling their fun.

You, on the other hand may think the child is being naughty or obstinate. You remove the toys/games abruptly and the volcano erupts! Your child is throwing a full-blown tantrum!

Now, let’s re-create the scenario: As before, your child is sitting happily playing and you’re about to start making dinner. You give the child fair warning that playtime will be ending soon, in say 5-10 minutes, and that they will then need to put their things away so that they can help you make dinner.

Stick to your time-frame and get the things put away (help if you’re needed), and involve your child in the dinner-making. Depending on your child’s age this could be anything from wiping the table to boiling potatoes or even carving the meat. (Ok, so we may not have huge set meals every day, but you get the idea).

Wow! You just avoided a MAJOR tantrum! Your child is involved and happy, you are happy and non-stressed! Well Done You!

You can do this sort of thing with just about any scenario. Turn it around from something negative i.e. removing child from ‘happy place’ and replacing in ‘upset place’, to moving child from one happy place to another. You just have to make sure that your child knows beforehand that something other than what they are doing at the moment will soon be happening.

Let your child get involved and make sure you tell him/her how much you appreciate their help and co-operation. This way you will avoid the horrid confusion that ultimately leads to those dreadful tantrums.
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