Dad Podcast

9 Ways to Diffuse a Tantrum – or At Least Keep Your Sanity – Dudes To Dads Ep 104

While learning how to avoid tantrums is a skill in itself, there are going to be times when they are simply unavoidable. Here is my disclaimer: We are not doctors, nor do we have a license to provide advice. This is solely for entertainment purposes. Use any of these techniques at your own risk. We can’t be responsible for what happens during the tantrum or to your child later in life because of the way you handled the tantrums. This Episode 104 offers 9 ways to diffuse a tantrum:

1. Avoidance – Don’t say anything and simply walk away. While this can be difficult in public, if you are home it’s very easy. When they don’t have an audience, the tantrum isn’t as exciting to them. Just walk away into another room. If you are in public, you might be able to walk away but keep an eye on them. As much as you may want to, you don’t want to leave a young child unnattended.

2. Throw a tantrum with them – While you may then look just as stupid as they do, that is the point. Get down on the floor and stomp your hands, pound your fists, and show them how rediculous they look. The hope is they realize it’s not a good look.

3. Mirror Technique – I have used this with effectiveness. Place the child in front of a mirror or bring a mirror in front of them to they can see how they look. Like having a tantrum with them, it’s showing them it really isn’t effective and it certainly doesn’t look good.

4. The Zenmaster – This technique is about staying calm or zen like. Take a few deep breaths and quietly talk to your child. Maybe say to them, “Is there something you need right now.” How can I help you?” Of course saying this in a very calm and relaxing voice.

5. Empathy – Like the Zenmaster, this technique requires you to be calm. This is probably the most effective technique but does require your child to be able to understand what you are saying. You may say something like “That really makes you mad.” or “I can see that you really want that toy!” You show the child you understand how they are feeling. Once you get a positive response or at least their attention, you can drop into the Zenmaster and ask them questions on how you can help.

6. Distract them (with an object) – Bring out something shiny for them to hold. While you do risk them throwing it back at you, some tantrum are caused by the children wanting something. If that is the case, providing them a substitute could diffuse the situation.

7. Distract them (by doing something funny or crazy) – This could mean talk in a funny voice, make noices, or do something that causes a distraction. They will forget why they threw the tantrum in the first place.

8. Hug it Out – Simply give them affection. They may just want attention. While it’s not a solution every time, sometimes we just need a hug.

9. Understand the Triggers – Of course the best way to diffuse it is to have it never happen. Understanding the times tantrums happen can help avoid them. Is it transitions (give warning), is it bath or eating time (give them choices), is it time to get dressed (teach them and allow them to do it themselves).

Figure out what techniques work best for you and your child. Every child is different so experiment and let us know which one works.

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