These are techniques that we have tried and works in most situation for handling tantrums from the book “How to talk so little kids will listen” by Joanna Faber & Julia King (a survival guide to life with children ages 2-7). – (for the review)
The book shares various techniques for different situations, would highly recommend you read the book if possible. This post is for parents who have least possibilities to access the book – say not book person or will not be able to read the book, be it any reason as such.
- Acknowledge Feelings with art: Just get a little creative, your drawing does not have to be picture perfect, just simple ones that describes the child’s feelings along with simple words or a narration of the entire situation in the form of drawing. Based on the tantrum situation try convert it into any drawings.
One of my most favourite technique that we have used many a times.
Some example: Say the child is sad because he could not go to the playground – draw a child feeling sad, you can ask the child if that is how the child is feeling (feeling acknowledged). You can ask the child to list out things the child wants to do when he gets to the playground tomorrow and as the child describe so you can draw or let the child draw.
I also use this technique to describe the tantrum situation sometimes – regarding what happen, what we could do instead and along small story with the drawing if required, it works for us.
- Offer Choice: This is something that most of us have already been using. Sometimes you might feel offer choices in every situation is not possible, say the child must get into the car no matter what, you are running late – there is no choice where you get to say the child need not get into the car. What can you try instead? Some possible choices can be favourite music in the car, walk backwards to the car, a quick race “who gets in first”, offering simple games in the car… quick race/at the count off are simple ones that we use.
- Problem Solving: The technique that works on a long run. Can be used for a tantrum that you have been facing often for the same situation.
- Acknowledge the child’s feeling: To acknowledge the child’s feeling is very important at all situations I would say. Name/ask how the child is feeling, understand the child’s emotion.
- Describe the problem: Explain to the child why you are not ok with what the child is asking for. Give valid reasons/information.
- Ask for ideas: Take a paper and pen, write a list of ideas that you and the child can try instead, ask the child for his ideas, discuss, and put in your ideas also – you will have a list of ideas now.
- Decide which idea works for both for the child and you: Finalise the ones that can be tried, remove the ones that cannot be implemented – discuss on why it is not possible, so the child understands.
- Try out your solutions: Next time when you are at the tantrum situation, remind the child and implement the idea that the two of you agreed upon.
It is also very important on when you choose to implement this technique, the child must be ready to sit and work this out with you. Be wise with when – the time and situation you choose to do it.
- Describe the situation: talk about what you feel, ask the child about how he feels, what you see- describe why it is not possible to do it the way the child is asking for? Just clear description of the situation does the job.
- Give information: Share valid information on why? What? How? Every possible question the child asks for – the child understands when you explain with valid information, enrich the child’s knowledge with your information.