Children and Tantrums

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Children and Tantrums

How can you handle Children and Tantrums

One parent once asked me how we cope with so many toddlers when she can’t even manage just two. Children are often as good as gold when they are in school but the moment mum walks through the door at the end of the school day, it is a different picture entirely.

My name is Mrs. Abiola Adewusi, I am a parent of three grown children and the proprietor of Tumble Tots Preschool Agungi/Idado, Lekki, a Preschool based in Lagos, Nigeria.

I know you will probably agree with me that children can be a lot smarter than we often give them credit for. One of the tricks young ones have up their sleeve is the use of tantrums or uncontrollable behaviour to declare their authority and get their own way. Take for example just two of the many scenarios we at Tumble Tots have encountered which I am sure most parents can relate to…. Read on…..


Scenario 1: Little Ayo, a 3-year-old has been putting his shoes on and taking them off appropriately for various activities in school during the day. Mum arrives to pick him up at the end of the school day and he rushes out of the TV room totally neglecting to put on his shoes. He runs around uncontrollably and ignores his mum’s pleas to wear his shoes so they can head home.

Scenario 2:  Simi is at home, she wakes up first thing in the morning and wants a Ribena and her favourite TV programme switched on. Mum ignores her request until she has a meltdown. She cries and wails then mum instructs her nanny to give her a Ribena, put on the T.V. Thereafter, all is quiet.  Simi has never had a tantrum in school.  She has her Ribena at the regular snack time with everyone else and TV does not go on until the day’s activities are over and she has had her lunch.

What can we do to help our children become more manageable without swinging the rod, shouting and getting exhausted with managing them?

Many children develop tantrums as early as 18 months old. There is a lot we can do to minimize these and help our children and of course, ensure our peace. Firstly and most importantly, if children  get the message that their shouting, screaming and tears will get them what they want, they will just use the tactic all the time.  We in the adult world use different methods and call it influence!  Younger children with limited speech often use tantrums to make their requests known or seek for the attention they desire.  Because it’s easier to give in and keep our peace, we give them what they want and they learn early that it works!

Some Tips to Help Us Along

  1. Encourage your children to use language to express their desires even if it is a single word, it is far better than tantrums and a flood of tears.
  2. Reward them when they don’t resort to a tantrum to get what they want. This will help to reinforce that they don’t have to shout and scream to get the attention they want or the treat they are seeking.
  3. Ignore them when they do have a tantrum. Pay them no attention and withhold the desired item. This will reinforce the message that the behavior is not desirable and will not achieve its intention.  They will soon learn it does not work and will stop using it.
  4. Be consistent. If you keep changing tactics, the child is confused and will keep trying the tactic. After all it works sometimes if not all the time.
  5. Set a routine for things like TV watching, sweet snacks and drinks, don’t just give in response to a tantrum. If you do, remember that they will use the tactic again and again.
  6. Do encourage independence. Don’t leave everything for the nanny to do. Allow your child to do things for themselves so they can cope when they are away from the nanny or when they go off to start school.
  7. You don’t need to wave the rod or threaten to smack. Be firm in your tone so your child knows you want him to comply with your instruction.

Have you successfully managed your child’s tantrums? Why not Share your journey to help others!

Tumble Tots Pre School is a Pre school in Lekki, Lagos. These are some of the tips we are sharing to educate parents. For even more tips or to learn more about us, kindly visit our contact page.

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