When a child becomes overwhelmed or is experiencing sensory overload, they will often have tantrums. As a result, they will lose control of their behavior. In these situations, it is important to know ahead of time how to respond. These situations can be very stressful, and knowing de-escalation techniques can help. With that in mind, let us take a look at these five tips for dealing with child tantrums.
Do Not Yell Or Try To Be Louder Than Them
During these tantrums, the child’s fight-or-flight system is activated. This means that anything that can be perceived as a threat is registered as one. Incidentally, this includes your own yelling. Although you may mean well and are attempting to say calming things, they are not registered as calming. In fact, it is registered as more noise and potential harm to them. Instead, wait until you are able to speak and then do so calmingly.
Validate Their Feelings
Shaming your child for having feelings is guaranteed to backfire. Instead, you want to show that you understand why they are upset. Show them you understand and validate their feelings. For example, saying, “It makes sense that you are upset. Not getting your way can be very frustrating.” This lets them know they are understood. Essentially, you are giving words to how they are feeling.
Give Them Space
Respecting a child’s personal space is vital. Their personal bubble is going to be especially sensitive during a tantrum. Unless your child asks or they are in danger, back up at least three feet away. Secondly, do not try to touch, hug, or pick them up. Since they are no longer thinking logically, this could add to sensory overload and be perceived as a threat. One way to do this is to use a calming corner.
Meet Them At Their Level
Essentially, you want to be as calming as possible. This means in every area you are able to. One way to do that is by kneeling to your child’s level, or, if they are willing, to sit with them. Refrain from standing above them, which can give off a sense of superiority which is unhelpful.
Use Healthy Boundaries Without Saying ‘No’
The word “no” can be a trigger word in the middle of a tantrum. Keep your responses concise, empathetic, and open-ended. This does not mean simply saying “yes” to everything your child says. Instead, use open-ended answers to establish healthy boundaries. For example, saying, “Let’s plan a time to do that” or “This is something we can talk about later when everyone is calm” helps deescalate the current situation. Additionally, it lets them know that you are providing a healthy response without telling them “no.” This lets the child know they are heard, understood, and in time those conversations or plans can happen.
The Best For Your Child
Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center is here to help your children blossom! We help integrate them back into society in a fun, healthy, and effective way. No child should be overlooked, so our compassionate care and ABA Therapy services give them the attention they deserve. Ready to learn more? Contact us today!