Tackling Tantrums


Parents or not, we are all aware and have witnessed at least one tantrum in our lives. As parents, we research the cause of tantrums and learn how to handle them so that we won’t be that embarrassed mum in the shop. Right?!?

Have you noticed that your children are more prone to tantrums since school/creche closed for Summer, or when you head off on your long-awaited two week relaxing summer holiday? Summer holidays change the routine, along with us being a little more relaxed, and so can be the perfect recipe for tantruming hell! My three children have been melting down on a regular basis (and it is not just from the heat), sometimes one at a time, but we have had a few glorious ‘all together now’s too. So I have started trying to anticipate and avoid the tantrums rather than the end result of us all marching into separate rooms and slamming the doors.

Here’s my ‘how to’:-

  • Television: I am all for a bit of television, but before the television goes on I tell them (a) that they must agree between themselves what they are watching or it goes off, (b) the number of cartoons they can watch, usually either a short movie or three cartoons, (c) that the television is going off after the last cartoon (with a reminder before it starts). While making these points, I make sure that the children look at me and verbally agree to each, as opposed to nodding whilst staring at the tv or remote!
  • Give them a plan: If we are staying home for the day, then I try and break it up between indoors and outdoors, so they might play on their bikes first time outside and then have a teddy-bears picnic next time – then they might do some drawing, reading or play lego indoors. I don’t generally have time to do these things with them, but I find suggesting activities to them helps to limit the bickering and ‘I’m bored’s that can result in leaving them to it!
  • Anticipate snacks: The lack of routine in the summer means meals can be delayed or even forgotten. So after breakfast I have taken to filling a plastic jug with water and putting it and some beakers beside the fruit bowl giving them easy and self-led access to drinks and fruit all day. I am lucky enough to have a child old enough to pour drinks for the others but even if your children are too young, just having the stuff ready gives you a chance to beat them to the hunger/thirst, and a chance to remember to feed them!
  • Wait and see: Don’t agree to anything until you have thought it through. So when asked to go the beach/ playground/a walk, tell them it depends on the weather, or their behaviour, or enough time. Don’t agree and then change plans due to the above conditions – children are very definite people – if you tell them you are going to do something, then I would advise that you do it.
  • The element of surprise: If you can sense tensions rising, have a trick up your sleeve; for example, ‘oh I forgot, it’s time for ice-creams / a trip to the library / this new book / or even baking’. Never underestimate the power of distraction but make sure it is something that suits you too!
  • Be prepared: When you make a plan for the day, tell the children about it and get them to agree – then warn them that any bad behaviour will halt those activities. During the day, if you sense things are going to kick off, warn them again and carry through with the threat if needs be.

Tantrums are an unfortunate and unavoidable part of childhood but hopefully these tips will help keep them to a minimum, and make for a relaxing summer all round.

I love feedback so please leave any thoughts or comments below.

Thanks for reading,




6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Louise (@TattooedMumsy)
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 12:25:38

    Some great tips there. We got the hint of our first tantrum yesterday from L and he is 13 months. He decided he would throw himself on the grass because we had to leave the sand pit! I will be making a mental note of your tips above for future reference πŸ™‚


  2. BabySteps
    Aug 01, 2014 @ 17:14:35

    Ah the old terrible two’s misnomer! 13 months is around about the time that tantrums kick in so be warned. 5 minute warnings before activity has to end are invaluable! ( Does not need to be 5 minutes,as they can’t tell the time!) πŸ˜‰ Thanks for reading!


  3. mamacourageblog
    Aug 02, 2014 @ 18:42:19

    Lovely, practical tips! The heat and the tiredness are a bad combo for our three year old, so we usually let him have a small meltdown and then reason with him…easier said than done when you’re sweltering yourself πŸ™‚


  4. Happy Mommy
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 12:54:01

    Great tips! Thanks a lot for sharing these tips.Just don’t get pissed when his tantrums attack. You’ll end up losing the trade of patience. πŸ˜€


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