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Taming the Tantrum

Fits happen. There’s no surefire way to eliminate them completely—but there are ways to get through them as quickly as possible. Smart moms share!

Let your child cool off. "Once, my daughter had a tantrum and actually started to take a swing at me. I put her in a time-out in the bathroom because there’s no fun stuff in there, and kept asking her if she was done as she yelled and screamed. When she finally said ‘Yes’ and came out, I praised her for calming herself down. Now all I need to do is threaten her with a bathroom time-out and she usually calms right down."
—Jennifer Kozek, mom of two, Oxford, Connecticut

Keep your cool. "Kids can make some bad choices as they learn how to handle anger and distress. So when one of my kids throws a fit in public, I get them away from other people, speak soothingly, and remind myself that this is all part of the learning process." —Jane Rosenberg, mom of two, Spokane, Washington

Take a walk. "My daughter once plopped down on the supermarket floor and started screaming. I just looked at her and walked off down the aisle, keeping her in my sights the whole time. She picked herself up, walked to where I was, and fell down crying again. I walked away again about 20 steps, and it worked. Eventually, she tired herself out and started to behave."
—Jennifer Ortiz, mom of two, Dallas, Texas

Get close. "My son has special needs and can go from zero to 1,000 very quickly when he’s distressed. Once he was so upset because I wouldn’t give him a Popsicle that he tried to climb the fridge. I’ve learned that bear-hugging him from behind can help calm him down. I also don’t buy Popsicles!"
—Marissa Sladek, mom of four, Hillsborough, New Jersey

Sing it away. "My son’s worst tantrums always seem to happen in the doctor’s office. It’s not that he’s hurting—he’s mad that people keep messing with him. I usually calm him back down by singing his favorite songs, like ‘Old MacDonald’. He quickly forgets that he was mad and claps along."
–Katy Monnot, mom of one, Covington, Louisiana

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