Tantrums are a normal part of development. They happen the most between ages 1 and 3 years. Many children have more tantrums prior to and around the time of language development. It’s not unusual for young children to have tantrums when they’re upset, angry, or frustrated, or when something doesn’t go their way. Tantrums are common, but being on the receiving end can be frustrating and hard to handle.
Try these tips to stop tantrums in their tracks.
1. Agree on a frustration signal.
2. Assign a calm space
3. Think about what’s causing the tantrum
4. Set clear expectations
5. Acknowledge your child’s feelings
6. Ignore it
7. Praise the behavior you want to see
Eight Tips to Surviving a Tantrum
You can’t avoid every tantrum, but here are some ideas from the AAP to help you survive them more gracefully.
1. Give your child enough attention and “catch her being good.”
2. During a tantrum, give your child control over little things.
3. Distraction. Move to a new room.
4. Choose your battles and accommodate when you can.
5. Know your child’s limits.
6. Do not ignore behaviors like hitting, kicking, biting, or throwing.
7.Set your child up for success.
8. Give yourself a break when you need it.
Parent Tips for Choosing High-Quality Screen Experiences
Did you know that any program, app, or game can call itself educational? Many don’t actually help children learn or build the skills they claim. So, how can you find high-quality, educational screen experiences for your child? Here are six tips to guide your choices:
1) Choose media that’s guided by child development specialists and teachers.
2) Choose “just right” media experiences. Choosing age-appropriate media—programs, apps, and games that are designed for your child’s age and stage—is important.
3) Choose screen experiences without lots of distractions.
4) Choose screen experiences that use rich language and give children a chance to participate and respond.
5) Share in the experience with your child.
6) Choose screen experiences that protect your child.
Making decisions about children’s screen time is a parent’s job, and we know it’s not easy. Limiting the time the children spend on screens, and choosing high quality programming when children do watch is a helpful approach for many families.
Screen Time Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommendations for children’s use of “screen media.” Here’s what the Academy says is best for each age:
- Birth through 18 months
Avoid all screen media—phones, tablets, TVs and computers. (It’s OK to video chat with grandparents and far-away friends.)
- 18 months to 2 years
It is OK to introduce young children to high-quality children’s media if you watch it with them and help them understand what they’re seeing.
- 2 to 5 years
Limit screen use to one hour a day of high-quality programs designed for children. Watch with your children; explain what they’re seeing and how it applies to the world around them.
The Power of Play
Play allows your child to use their creativity while developing their imagination, physical, cognitive and emotional skills. Play is important to healthy brain development. Starting at a very early age your child learns through play. When you play with your child he or she learns how to engage in and interact with the world around them.
Age-Specific Ideas for Playful Learning
Learning is best fueled by tapping into a child's natural urge to play, rather than just outside factors like test scores. As they actively engage with and joyfully discover their world, children gain 21st century skills that increasingly call for teamwork and innovation.
Ways to Play
Birth to 6 Months
The AAP encourages parents to use play to help meet their child's health and developmental milestones, beginning from birth. Some examples of ways to do this:
Playful learning can start with a baby's first smile. Responding with a smile of your own is a form of play that also teaches a baby a critical social-emotional skill: "You can get my attention and a smile from me anytime you want―just by smiling yourself."
Imitate your baby's coos and babbles and have back-and-forth "conversation" using your baby's sounds as a prompt.
Show your baby interesting objects such as a brightly colored toy. Let her bring safe objects to her mouth to explore and experience new textures.
Place your baby in different positions so he can see the world from different angles.
7 to 12 Months
Make sure your baby has a safe environment to crawl and explore.
Give your baby opportunities to learn that her actions have effects—for example, when she drops a toy and it falls to the ground. Put a few toys within reach of your baby so he can take toys out and play with them.
Use a mirror to show your baby her different facial expressions.
1 to 3 Years
When choosing childcare and preschools, look for those that include unstructured playtime. Playful learning, where children take the lead and follow their own curiosity, should be the main focus of high-quality early childhood education.
Give your child blocks, empty containers, wooden spoons, and puzzles. Simple and inexpensive objects are some of the best ways to support a child's creativity. Remember, it is parents and caregivers' presence and attention that enriches children―not fancy electronic gadgets.
Give your child opportunities to play with peers. This is a good age to try a parent-supervised playdate.
Help your child explore her body through different movements—for example, walking, jumping, and standing on one leg.
Provide opportunities for make-believe play—for example, pretending to drink out of an empty cup or offering toys that enable pretend play.
Read regularly to and with your child. Encourage pretend play based on these stories.
Sing songs and play rhythms so that your child can learn and join in the fun. Begin to introduce some age-appropriate games like Simon Says.
4 to 6 Years
Provide opportunities for your child to sing and dance.
Tell stories to your child and ask questions about what he or she remembers.
Give your child time and space to act out imaginary scenes, roles, and activities.
Allow your child to move between make-believe games and reality—for example, playing house and helping you with chores.
Schedule time for your child to interact with friends to practice socializing and building friendships.
Encourage your child to try a variety of movements in a safe environment—for example, hopping, swinging, climbing, and doing somersaults.
Limit screen time to healthy levels. Age-appropriate media can have benefits for older children, especially if you watch and play with them. But real time social interactions and play are much better for children than digital media for learning.
Encourage your child's school to offer recess and playful learning approaches in addition to more structured learning approaches like reading, memorization and worksheets.