Magic Words That Stop Tantrums

Temper tantrums seem to appear out of thin air. One minute your son is laughing and clapping, and the next minute he’s crying and kicking. Dealing with a flood of tears, shrill screams, and flailing limbs can make you feel like having a meltdown of your own.

As a parent, it’s challenging to stay cool when your child is having a theatrical, emotional outburst, especially when it’s public. It can be downright embarrassing as people watch your kid have a hysterical fit. As uncontrollable as the situation may seem, there are quick solutions.

There are specific words you can use to pacify an unruly child. All children are different, and you know your little one better than anyone else. So we present seven alternatives that you can try.

Check out these 7 phrases that will stop tantrums virtually in their tracks.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

7 Hugging and Holding

Step one: to tame a child’s temper, you need to control your own anger. Progress will not be made if you and your child are shouting at each other. Spanking is not a helpful option either. Corporal punishment will only make your child more upset. So first, take a deep breath to compose yourself, and then commence discipline with a calm but firm hand.

If you have spoken to your child, but he’s still out of control, try to physically restrain him. A child who is kicking and screaming can physically hurt himself or other people. If he will let you, hug him and hold him tight. Some children will cool off when they are held firmly.

Have you ever become so angry that you got carried away by your emotions? At that point, you probably weren’t even sure how far you could go. Children can feel the way when they are engulfed in a rage.

So, when a child is inconsolable, you need to be their anchor. In a soothing voice say, “I’m going to hug you until you melt.” It will show that even though he has lost control, you will help him relax.

6 “When you calm down...”

Sometimes, the littlest thing can incite a tantrum. Often, any circumstance that involves change can cause a youngster to protest. It could be a simple request, such as asking your son to share a toy with his sister. Throw tiredness and hunger into the mix, and suddenly, your child is rolling on the ground having a fit.

There are two different types of temper tantrums: frustration tantrums and manipulative tantrums. When someone is angry and frustrated, they may throw a tantrum because they want to be heard. This is why frustration tantrums need patience, understanding, and support.

When your toddler is having a meltdown, show your child how to express his feelings in an appropriate manner. You can say, “When you calm down, you can tell me what you want.”

Your child may continue to complain for a few seconds but stand firm. This phrase sends a quick message that your child needs to communicate differently for you to understand. If you stand your ground, he will soon give up the tantrum for good.

5 “I love you no matter what...”

Caving into to your child’s demands will immediately stop a tantrum. Unfortunately, this method will only teach your child to yell and scream every time you say no. Yes, it may help you escape an embarrassing moment in the supermarket, but do not give in.

In the heat of the moment, it can be a real challenge to remain calm. Regardless of how unruly your child is acting, ultimately he needs unconditional love. Talk to him calmly now, and think about discipline later.

Remind your child that you love him. You can say, “I love you no matter what, but we need a break.” After the dust has settled, talk to your child about what he was thinking and how he was feeling. You can disapprove of their behavior while still caring for them. 

4 Use Positive Words

There are three words parents use too often: “no,” “don’t,” and “stop.” It’s practically a parental reflex to say one of these words when you see misbehavior. Be that as it may, these naysaying words can create problems if they are overused. These words are more compelling when they are used sparingly.

Try to say positive phrases more often. Start your sentences with “I want you to...” or “Would you please...”. Tell your little one what you want as opposed to what you don’t want. So, instead of saying “Don’t jump on the bed!” explain, “Beds are for sleeping. Please sit down. You can jump on the ground when we go outside.”

Positive phrases can stop tantrums before they start. They can also fill your time together with happy communication. 

3 “I can see you’re upset...”

When adults are bothered, what they really want is to be heard. Kids are the same way. Children who are in the midst of a tantrum are not equipped to hear what we are trying to say. Our reasons or distractions will be ignored until the child hears that we understand what they want.

Before you start to express what you want your child to do, use the Fast-Food Rule. This rule is to imitate a cashier at a fast food restaurant. When the customer tells you want they want, you repeat the order back to them. This way, the customer knows you heard what they said and understand what they want.

Likewise, when your child is freaking out, describe what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. You can say “I know you’re upset because you want to watch TV.” By listening and repeating, a child will tend to calm down and co-operate. Try to keep your sentences short, so your message isn’t lost.

2 “When you use your normal voice...”

It’s tough not to lose your cool when your child is misbehaving. Yet, part of teaching requires being a good role model. Controlling yourself will set a positive example.

A verbal and physical attack will only teach your child to become verbally and physically aggressive. When your child is shouting, place your hand on his shoulder, and look him in the eye. Calmly say, “When you talk with your normal voice, I can hear what you are saying.”

This phrase shows your child an alternative way to share his feelings. It also reminds your child of his current behavior while showing him a flip side.

1 Should You Ignore a Tantrum?

The jury is still out whether ignoring a child’s tantrum is productive. Some researchers claim that ignoring a tantrum is better because once your child realizes his screaming is getting him nowhere, he will give up. If you make it clear that will not give your child attention during a tantrum, he will simply stop.

Other studies show that quite the opposite is true. Some experts claim that while ignoring tantrums may eventually bring the outburst to an end, the issue behind the temper doesn’t disappear. These doctors say that acknowledging a child’s feelings is a proven method to tranquilize a temper.

Whichever method you decide is best for your child, just make sure that your child will not get hurt in his surroundings. Take him to a secure location or clear the area as best as you can.

The occasional flare-up is unavoidable, but you should seek expert advice if your child:

- Harms himself or someone else during a tantrum

- Holds his breath until he passes out

- Develops more extreme tantrums after the age of four

- Has tantrums often

Whether your child is venting or testing your limits, just remember, this stage will pass. Eventually, your son or daughter will develop the vocabulary skills to share their feelings with words instead of actions. 

More in Did You Know...