How to deal with temper tantrums and meltdowns

little girl engaged in temper tantrums

Learn how to say no without temper tantrums in toddlers and how to avoid aggressive behavior in children of all ages. Tantrums or meltdowns can be one of the most frustrating experiences of being a parent.

Prior to reading any of the following information, I strongly recommend you start by downloading and reading my free eBook – Child Behavior Guide: What you need to know.

It provides information about factors that can influence and actually increase the likelihood of tantrums, meltdowns and a child behavior problem.

Applying the information provided below can be helpful, but if you are dealing with a situation that falls into one of the categories outlined in my book, it may take a longer time before you start to notice any improvements. It’s fast, it’s free, please take the time to read it first.

Child tantrums typically begin around 18 months of age and should disappear around 3-4 years of age. If you are continuing to see them past the age of 5, then you definitely need some additional help and support. However, for children diagnosed with a pervasive developmental disorder a behavior disorder, or possibly even sensory processing disorder you will most likely see similar behavior often referred to as a meltdown.

Most tantrums or meltdowns occur during one of these four situations.

1. When told "No" and unable to have an item or do an activity.
2. When changing activities or leaving a fun place.
3. When asked to do something they don't want to do.
4. In order to get attention.

Usually, it should be obvious to you which reason your child is losing their temper and throwing a tantrum. Although if one of the proactive strategies outlined in my book is not in place, the likelihood and frequency of temper tantrums may increase to a point where it seems like anything and everything can result in a child losing his/her temper. So, after those systems are in place, it will be more obvious under what circumstances will result in a tantrum.

Preventing Temper Tantrums

Preventing tantrums or aggressive behavior in children will depend on the specific reasons your child is behaving that way. Start by making a list of your child's triggers for aggression or temper tantrums and then you can find helpful information for each of the four triggers listed above at the following pages.

1. How to say "No" without a tantrum.
2. Transition strategies to help easily change activities.
3. Compliance strategies for defiant children - Be sure to continue on to Defiant children Part 2 by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.
4. Help for attention seeking behaviors.

Now that you know ways to prevent temper tantrums, you will also find the information about how to respond to a child tantrum helpful. This provides the best way to de-escalate children when they are upset and losing their temper about one of the reasons listed above. Some of this information may or may not be suitable for children with autism symptoms depending on the severity of the child's symptoms.

For children with autism or another diagnosis that are unable to effectively communicate, it may seem like they are losing their temper frequently with regular meltdowns. However, it is understandable why they may be behaving the way they are if they can't communicate their wants and needs. In this situation the use of a PECS - Picture Exchange Communication System or sign language may help to control the child's temper.

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