How we deal with tantrums

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Grayson will be 2 in April, which means he’s reached an age where he understands he can push boundaries and doesn’t always have to do what we tell him. However, although Grayson does have my temper (which was always my biggest concern when having children) we’ve learnt pretty quickly the best ways to diffuse it with him.

I also kind of begrudge the word ‘tantrum’ as I think people use it for situations that possibly don’t always warrant the word. To me a tantrum is a full scale meltdown, I’m talking screaming and crying and inconsolable. If Grayson tells me no and stomps his feet, but is over it the next second, to us that isn’t a tantrum – it’s just Grayson letting us know how his opinion. So this is order of things we tend to do for Grayson’s tantrums.

Obviously these won’t work with every child, but Grayson will very rarely have a full scale meltdown and so I think that something we’re doing must be helping?!

Ask what’s wrong / comfort him

Grayson is at an age where I don’t think he’s being purposefully ‘naughty’ (another word I hate!) and so if he’s having a tantrum we tend to start by giving him a cuddle and asking him what’s wrong. He still doesn’t quite understand how to tell us what’s wrong, but by asking the question I think he can tell we aren’t angry and we just want to know how we can help. Usually he’ll come over and plonk himself in my lap and have a cry and a scream and it’ll be done, but that isn’t always the case.

Distract him

This is always a good one. Kids are amazingly fickle, and so if Grayson is kicking off about something we can usually go “wow Grayson, have you seen this??” and he’ll carry on crying but he’ll slowly start to concentrate on something other than the meltdown he’s having.

Ignore him / let him calm himself down

I don’t like having to do this, but if Grayson is going full blown meltdown (this includes arms and legs flailing everywhere and nothing else working) we will lay him down in a soft floor and just ignore him for a minute or so. He then realises he isn’t getting comfort or the attention he wants and will come over to one of us wanting a cuddle and saying sorry.

Once the tantrum has subsided, we like to try and ask Grayson again what was upsetting him. We also like to tell him that he’s okay, but he needs to try and use his words to tell us what’s wrong. If he’s done something wrong, which was the cause of the tantrum, we ask him what he did wrong and he’s started to tell us which has helped massively.

Don’t get me wrong, we do lose our patience on occasions and when we do, we always try to remember to apologise to Grayson for getting angry (I’ve done a previous post, on the importance of apologising to children that you can read here ). Parents aren’t perfect, and we’re going to trip up because we’re only human.

As I said earlier in this post, these might not work for your children and if that’s the case then that’s totally okay as there are so many other ways to diffuse tantrums!

3 thoughts on “How we deal with tantrums”

  1. Some great tips. We also class Tantrums as meltdowns, where there is no consoling. The before stages of these we know as paddy’s. With 5 daughters of varying ages from 1 to 9yrs, the way you confront these situations differs and sometimes we struggle to remember which one we are dealing with. We can’t address the 1yr olds paddy’s and Tantrums like we would the 8yr old. They can be very stressful and sometimes not easy to keep calm and control the situation, like you said we are only human.

    • Paddys! 5 daughters, you really do have your work cut out (I’m sure you’ve been told that a million times!) If the 8 year old is anything like my nephew / nieces, they take a lot of patience, at least with Grayson we can distract him with a toy or some music to dance to – he doesn’t have the attitude to give back….yet!

      • Yeah I’d be a rich man if I had a quid for everytime I heard that. It’s hard work, been the Stay at home dad too is tricky and has taken some adjustment. They’re all different personalities too so all different. The 4 and 6yr old you can distract but 8 and 9yr old they’re fast becoming teenage attitudes and will stand their ground, it’s like Kevin and Perry at times lol.


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