Tantrum Tips

If your child tantrums, it can be helpful to recognize your child’s triggers. Triggers are the things that set your child off, that tend to start the tantrums. Once you identify triggers, you can work harder to avoid tantrums when the triggers happen. You can also avoid some triggers and teach children how to better manage when they can’t be avoided. Triggers tend to fall into three categories:

  • Situational triggers are triggers like the child tantrums when they are hungry or when they are tired. These are on you, fix these things. If they tantrum when they are hungry, carry crackers in your bag or plan to feed them small meals throughout the day rather than waiting longer between three larger meals.


  • Social triggers include things like tantruming over having to share toys or over being told “no.” The idea for social triggers is children need to learn to both avoid these when they can and manage them when they can’t. Learning to manage and calm can take children a long time and a lot of practice.



  • Parents’ stress level can be another trigger. When parents are particularly stressed, children tend to tantrum more often. It may be they are reflecting the emotional tone in the house. It may be that, because you are stressed, they are having to get bigger and louder to get your attention.


Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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