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Tips for Taming Temper Tantrums

Feb. 1, 2013

OAK CREEK, WAUWATOSA, MILWAUKEE, MEQUON, GREENFIELD (WHERE EBENEZER HAS CENTERS)– Do you dread taking your two-year-old out in public for fear that he might show his “true colors” with a classic temper tantrum?

According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Milwaukee, Mequon, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “Temper tantrums are a natural part of the toddler years. As parents, you should never take temper tantrums personally, but instead realize that your child is acting out of frustration because of all the choices being presented to him.”
“The important thing is to stay calm,” says Anderson.

She recommends trying these tips to help your child positively progress through this challenging developmental phase.

Be Prepared
Don’t take your child grocery shopping or running errands if you know that he is tired and/or hungry. Likewise, if you feel rushed and worn out, don’t push yourself either. Doing so would only set you up for failure.
Instead, plan ahead, and do these types of activities when both you and your child are at your best. Then, you can enjoy each other, have an interactive shopping experience, and help your child stay occupied for the duration of your trip.

Stay Calm
When your child does demand something while on a shopping trip, take a deep breath and remain in control of the situation. Calmly tell him why he is not going to get what he is demanding, and do not let your emotions waver.
If your child starts kicking and screaming, gently pick him up and hold him until he can get in control. Repeatedly reinforce to him the importance of having control.

According to Anderson, one of the best ways to stop a temper tantrum is to distract your child from the subject matter that is the source of the problem.

For example, if your child is having a temper tantrum because he wants juice for breakfast, but you are serving him milk, simply change the subject altogether and ask if he wants to play a game or do another fun project when he is finished with his breakfast. This concept will help your child refocus his energy in a positive matter.

In the same regard, humor can also be a powerful tool to stop tantrums. Just be careful, so your child doesn’t think you are making fun of him.

Don’t Give In
The most important thing to remember when dealing with temper tantrums is to not give in, but rather to help your child work through his frustrations and understand that there is a more positive way to address them.

“Once your child is calm, be sure to praise him for getting in control. Also, remind him why you have rules and why they must be followed. Discuss your child’s frustrations and how he could have gotten better results by asking for help instead of having a temper tantrum.

“Children need to learn from an early age that there are direct consequences for their actions, and that tantrums are not an appropriate way to behave,” says Anderson. “The sooner they learn this, the quicker they will feel in control of their behavior, and the temper tantrum phase will pass.”

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers a variety of free Family Fun Nights and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, in Greenfield, Mequon, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at

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