A 3 yr old temper tantrum is just as loud, explosive and complicated as a 2-year-old tantrum. Many parents falsely believe that once their child gets to the age of 3 that most temper tantrums and mini meltdowns will stop. This is not true.
Your 3-year-old will have already gain an insight into the world around Now they are building their perspective and shaping their beliefs around what is wrong and what is right.
Sometimes that can lead to an overwhelming sense of conflict as they battles for identity, power and purpose. This struggle eventually leads to frustrations and anxiety as your child tries to understand they do’s and don’t and how to correctly express themselves.
Related: 3-Year-Old Behavior Out Of Control
Trying to avoid 3 year old tantrums every day and 3 year old tantrums at bedtime can be very tiring for any parent. However, there are 5 smart tips you can use right now that will give you back the power and limit 3 year old temper tantrums getting worse.
How To Manage A 3 yr Old Temper Tantrum
1. Stay Calm
This sounds simple, but it’s probably the hardest thing to do. Not only are you having to deal with the full-blown temper tantrum that has come out of nothing, but know you have to deal with your own emotions and keep them in check.
Toddlers are very smart and they often mirror how you react and respond to them. If you get stressed out, angry and begin to shout at your child, chances are they will continue to fuel the fire themselves.
Take a few breaths, step back and try to think about the reason your child is going into tantrum mode.
Is it simply a tiredness issue or is it something more indepth like a power play between you both.
Be clear on what the undertone issue is for the tantrum and then come back into the battlefield full equipped with this knowledge.
This is one of the best ways to combat a tantrum before it turns in to full-scale WAR! A 3 yr old temper tantrum can arise for a variety of reasons but sometimes your ability to change the subject before all the emotions and feelings are in full swing can help.
Here are some diversion examples: (see more here)
- If you have their favourite toy, play with it in front of them
- If you are occupied and can’t immediately come to their aid, sing their favourite nursery rhyme
- If you are in a social environment, point at something interesting within your immediate surroundings.
Diverting them away from why they were upset in the first place is a good starting point. After they have been diverting your toddler may forget the reason why they were upset in the first place. Whilst this is can be only temporary it is still a very effective way to keep the peace.
You can also use it as a gauge. If you can divert your child away from a tantrum chance are they are only a little upset and just need a change of scenery. If you cannot then you’ll need to stop what you are doing and actively tend to their needs.
3. Stay Firm
You must stay firm and prevent your toddler from releasing that throwing a tantrum will get them what they want.
At 3 years old children are very adept and learn extremely fast. Giving in to an unreasonable demand or defiant behaviour (even just a few times) just 1 time will make things harder down the road.
For example, allowing your toddler to have sweets before dinner one time may cause a pattern to form. Tomorrow, you’ll soon find they ask for the same sweet at the same time of day. Nip this in the bud from the outset by staying firm.
Empathy is an important skill to learn. By showing empathy you should your child that you understand they are upset, are sensitive to the reason why and want to actively work together to fix the issue.
When your toddler has a tantrum try to keep this strategy in mind. As things start to cool down, remind your toddler that “this wasn’t acceptable behaviour” in a low and empathetic tone.
You want them to know that you understand and are listening to their feeling and point of view. Reassure them that you have heard what they have said and can empathise with the reason they got upset in the first place.
Lastly, reassure them that “everything will be fine” and you are “here to help“
For example say, “I know you were angry because you couldn’t have a sweet before dinner, but it’s ok, we’ll sort it out. Mummy is here. How about having some dinner early instead? Then you can have a sweetie as soon as you are done!”
5. Don’t Punish Tantrums
A 3 yr old temper tantrum is a healthy way to deal with big emotions, like fear, pain and anger. Don’t punish them directly for throwing a tantrum as this is just an expression of emotion and the inability to vent it correct.
Also punishing tantrums may just make them worse as your child mirrors your actions learning anger and frustration are the correct emotions to use.
Gain a better understanding of the reasons behind the tantrum and be supportive in helping them understand their emotions. This will assist your child’s developmental growth and help to mould more positive behaviour correctly.