Tantrum Strategies (ARTICLE)

This article was given to me by Little Man's O.T., and hopefully it can help some parents out!


a. Pick your battles: Avoid confrontations when it really doesn't matter. If they are not at risk for harm or harming something, give them time to get bored and try to get your way later.

b. Identify when and where your child has tantrums to see if there are particular triggers. Is it only in public, when they are hungry or tired? Is it during transitions from one activity to another? Knowing this info will help you prevent tantrums.

c. Be careful about setting yourself up for a NO answer. Do not ask your child a question if they don't have a choice to make. "We are going to leave now, okay?" is better stated, "We are leaving the store in 1 minute". Don't ask, "Do you want?" If you can't have the answer no!

d. Make a big deal often during good behavior that your child does. The key is letting your child know what pleases you and will get positive attention for.

e. Give your child cues that will help them prepare for what lies ahead. Sometimes telling a child when they have 5 minutes, then 3 minutes, then 1 minute until a transition is to occur helps them prepare for a change.

f. Always leave a small toy handy in your bag for distracting or providing an activity for those tantrums caused by boredom. If the toy is reserved only for when you are 'out', the interest in it will last longer.


a. Stay calm! The crazier they are, the calmer you need to be!

b. Let them know that you understand what they want, but that it is not going to happen now, then you stop talking!!.

c. Be careful not to reinforce the tantrum with extra attention and words that may actually be encouraging or rewarding the tantrum. Kids want our attention more than anything and often even negative attention is better than no attention at all. to work effectively, a tantrum needs a sympathetic audience.

d. Use isolation when ever possible for the tantrum. Establish a routine with total predictability. Put the child on a soft surface and IGNORE them for a few minutes, staying close enough to make sure they are safe. Occasionally reassure them that when they are calm, they can go play.

e. If they get up and move, do not chase them but make sure they are safe. If they are tearing up a room, then hold them on our lap tightly until you feel their arms and legs surrender. Holding can be reinforcing for some children.

f. Some kids can't calm themselves, and the tantrums last for longer than 30 minutes. These kids sometimes need to be rocked and held quietly when it appears they are 'stuck' and can't calm themselves. Sometimes giving them a pillow and a favorite blanket helps them to calm.

g. When the tantrum is over, let it go. Give them a hug and let them know that it is their behavior you don't like, but you love them all the same.

h. BE CONSISTENT with your words and actions. It is normal for tantrums to increase in order for your child to see if you react the same way every time. If the tantrums then decrease, your strategy is effective!! If the tantrums do not decrease, then you are doing something that the child finds reinforcing!!