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Dealing with Holiday Temper Tantrums

With the stress of the holidays, our children can have trouble handling all that is going on around them. This can play out in temper tantrums. To help you deal with these hard times that usually occur when we are ready to throw our own temper tantrum, follow the tips below.

  • Remain calm. Be a role model by remaining in control of yourself and your emotions.
  • Pause before you act. Take 30 seconds (count if you need to) before you decide how to act.
  • Use one of these techniques. (1) Distract your child. (2) Remove your child to a quiet, private place to calm down. Do not try to reason with your child while they are still screaming and/or kicking, because they are not ready. (3) Ignore an older child who is trying to use the tantrum to get attention. (4) Hold your child. This may be necessary if they are so out of control they could hurt themselves or others. Remember to do this calmly and with control. You can tell them that you are going to give them a hug and hold them while they calm down. Children can be scared by their own behavior and need someone else to take charge.
  • Wait until your child calms down before talking about the situation. When calmed down, you can teach your child ways to ask for help, deal with anger, and use words instead of kicking and yelling when expressing their feelings.
  • Comfort and reassure your child after the tantrum. They are usually scared by their tantrum and do not know why they reacted the way they did. You can let them know you did not like the behavior but assure them that they are still loved.
  • Prevent situations that can lead to tantrums. Make sure you keep meal times and rest times during the holidays. It takes some planning but a prevented tantrum is well worth the effort.

Source: Iowa State University, University Extension. Understanding Children Temper Tantrums