Toddler temper tantrums can be frustrating for everyone involved – the child, parents and educators. Tantrums are inevitable in kids up to 4 years of age and sometimes later. They often stem from a child who cannot yet express what’s going on for them, or who is having trouble with a certain activity or task.
As children grow, their language and motor connection improves and they’re increasingly able to put words to their experiences, so their need for temper tantrums fades. Yet when they’re still in this stage, it’s useful to have some strategies for dealing with tantrums to minimise distress for the child and keep your class functioning normally.
The educator must stay calm during a toddler tantrum, as if they become angry or emotional, it will only escalate the energy of the situation. Talk to the child in a relaxing and reassuring tone and try to understand the reason for them feeling frustrated.
Offer the child another way of getting their frustration out, such as hitting a pillow, doing a drawing to express their feelings, or distracting them from their feelings with a fun game.
When you’re in the middle of conducting a class and a child has a tantrum, you need a procedure in place that’s replicable so all kids know what happens if they have a temper tantrum. A good idea is to place the child in a quiet area of the room to cool down, not as a punishment, but to give them a chance to learn to self-regulate their own emotions.
Keep an eye on the emotional temperament of each child over time to make sure they’re travelling okay. You can usually start to pick up on changes in a child’s emotions before they have a full on tantrum, so look out for signs of boredom, tiredness, stress or hunger.
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