Take tantrums, for example. Every parent deals with tantrums. They are a fact of life for toddlers and preschoolers. Young children develop at different rates and sometimes, it just might be the case that a child’s brain is still working on the part that allows him or her to manage their emotions. The smallest inconvenience can send them into a full on rage and it might mean abandoning the shopping cart in the grocery aisle.
Of course, children aren’t purposely trying to be difficult, or unhelpful…sometimes they simply lack the tools to express how they’re feeling so they use the only skills they have; which might include melting down. That raging tantrum about putting on their socks before their shoes? It’s not the child decided to make the family late for the day, but perhaps they were frustrated about something else entirely and could only go from zero-to-sixty to express that.
Sometimes it can be difficult to keep your cool around a child’s tantrum. They might be screaming, crying, stomping their feet, kicking, or, in a truly impressive feat, all the above. One of the best things you can do when a major melt-down is happening is to keep calm and approach the situation with a cool head. In developing our app, Parachute, we worked with child development experts to find in-depth solutions to common parenting problems. One example is this video on the method of naming the emotion and problem to help children through their tantrum.
We know how this sounds…Nobody likes being told to calm down. It can be hard to retain composure when you have a 2-year-old who is definitely NOT keeping calm. If your child is upset though, and you approach them, and you’re upset as well, it might make things worse. So, when emotions are running high, it can be really helpful for you to take a step back, take a deep breath, and approach the situation calmly. Showing your child that you’re not freaking out, can help them calm down as well.
Tantrums can sometimes feel like an emergency (and of course, the priority is to make sure your child is safe), so by taking a moment to get centered, you can keep a tense situation from getting even more tense.
About the Author
Committee for Children (CFC) is a local nonprofit organization focused on helping children learn, grow, and thrive by teaching them how to understand emotions, build meaningful relationships, and resolve conflicts. Most recently, CFC launched Parent Parachute, an app that helps parents solve typical parenting challenges through research-based skills shown in fun, video animations and short activities. It’s like having a parenting coach in your pocket!