Dealing with temper tantrums


Effective Discipline – Advice

  • Distract or redirect the child to some other activity, preferably away from the scene of the tantrum.

  • Remove the child from the place of misbehaviour.

  • Hold the child gently until the toddler gains control.

  • Give a short verbal instruction or reassurance followed by supervision and an example.

  • Have empathy.

  • Continue to supervise, set limits and routines, and have realistic expectations of the child’s achievement capabilities.

  • Knowing the child’s pattern of reactions helps prevent situations in which frustrations flare up.

  • Pay attention to good behavior

  • Teach positive behavior as well as changing unwanted behavior.

  • Know your child's triggers e.g. hunger, tiredness, these may clue you in to an impending tantrum


For discipline to be effective, it needs to be: 

  • given by an adult with an affective bond to the child;

  • consistent, close to the behaviour needing change;

  • perceived as ‘fair’ by the child;

  • developmentally and temperamentally appropriate; and

  • self-enhancing, i.e. ultimately leading to self-discipline.


This is also true with the management of temper tantrums.

Remember the meaning behind the word "Temper" - it means to mix in order to transform something often by neutralizing or balancing it. The child at this stage of development is learning how to mix their feelings. It is a confusing time for them too. If an individual fails to learn how to temper their feelings they may have temper tantrums well into childhood and even adulthood.




Canadian Pediatric Society