5 Mom-Approved Tricks for Diffusing Temper Tantrums

posted: 02/29/16
by: Amanda Mushro

Charlize Theron is the talk of the Oscar's red carpet for looking stunning in her plunging all-the-way-down-to-there red Dior dress (and major diamond necklace), but last week she was catching headlines because paparazzi snapped pictures of her in a much less glamorous and much more real situation -- the dreaded toddler tantrum.

Charlize, who is mom to four-year-old Jackson, was photographed dealing with his full-blown tantrum in a parking lot after a dance class. As any mother can attest, tantrums are no fun, often come out of nowhere, and we just want to find the easiest and fastest way to make the tantrum stop. It goes without saying that we're not at our best selves during these outbursts and probably wouldn't appreciate being photographed, either.

While rationalizing with an exasperated child can seem like insanity on your part, sometimes you can pull a few tricks can stop the tantrums before they start.

If it's time to leave or time to hand over the iPad, a five minute countdown with a one minute reminder can help ease tantrums, especially over time. Just like any routine, if your child learns you're giving them a warning before they have to stop doing one action and switch gears to another, it can make the transition a lot easier on everyone.

Diffuse with humor
If you see that look in your toddler's eyes and you know a tantrum is coming, it's time to get silly. Is there a song that makes your kid giggle? Start singing! Is there a crazy dance they can't help but shake their little bottoms to? Start dancing! Sometimes a silly face or funny reaction from you will distract them from what caused the tantrum.

Really listen to them
Often we are so busy multi-tasking that we miss certain cues from our kids. Are they tired? Are they hungry? Is it just hard to be four years old? Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Yes, sports cliches work with children too.

Distraction, distraction, distraction
You'll always find lollipops in my purse and a silly kid's game on my smart phone because sometimes you just need something quick to distract your child before they really blow.

Know when to fold
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the tantruming child wins and it's just best to leave so everyone can calm down. Sometimes that means leaving a full cart at Target and just like Charlize, cutting that dance class short. But don't be too hard on yourself -- the tantrum phrase will pass and you can take comfort in knowing you and Charlize have something in common.