Every parent has witnessed their child having a temper tantrum at one time or another. They are a normal part of development and happen most between the ages of 1 and 3 years of age. Temper tantrums are very common prior to and around the time of language development, as children that aren’t fully verbal cannot yet say what they want, feel or need. Tantrums can be an easy way for them to try to get what they need. They can be as short as 20 seconds or go on for hours. They may include: crying, screaming and yelling, stamping feet, rolling around on the floor and breath holding spells.
When to Not Ignore Your Child’s Temper Tantrum
- If your child is physically at risk of harming him or herself
- If your child is in danger of hurting someone else during a tantrum such as hitting, kicking or biting
How to Help your Child Avoid Tantrums
- Give plenty of positive reinforcement - Get in the habit of catching your child being good and reward them with praise and attention for positive behavior
- Try to give toddlers control over little things - Offer minor choices such as “Do you want this shirt or that shirt?” “Do you want an apple or banana?” This will allow your child to make choices but choices that you are okay with.
- Try to limit “No” - Keep off-limit objects out of sight and out of reach helping to make struggles less likely and also limiting the use of “No”. Make sure your child understands the importance of “No” and know that the more you use it, the less effective it becomes.
- Distract your child - Take advantage of their short attention span by offering something else in place of what they can’t have. Start a new activity to replace the frustrating or forbidden one or take your toddler outside or inside to simply change the environment.
- Consider the request carefully when your child wants something - is it outrageous? Maybe it isn’t. Choose your battles.
- Know your child’s limits - When your toddler is tired or hungry, don’t take them grocery shopping or try to squeeze in one more errand. It can also be a bad time to give kids a toy that is too advanced for them as they could get frustrated when they don’t understand why thaeycan’t get it to work.
Do’s and Don’ts During Tantrums
- DO stay calm - children learn by example! If you stay calm, your child is more likely to do the same. Get down on their level so you are eye to eye at arms distance and talk to them in a quiet, soothing voice. Empathize with them and let them know you hear them and understand why they’re upset. Calmly but firmly tell your child what to stop doing and what to do instead for example, “Anna, stop screaming right now and speak in a nice voice.” When he or she does as you asked, praise your child.
- DON’T give in - you don’t want to reward their behavior. If throwing temper tantrums leads to your child getting their way, get ready for tantrums to become a regular occurrence
- DO distract - getting your child to focus on something else might help them to soon forget why they were so upset in the first place
- DON’T overreact - try to understand why your child is frustrated. Take a deep breath (or several) and know that this too, will pass.
- DO set expectations - Before taking your child to a public place like a store or restaurant, talk to them about proper behavior. Try to give them 3 simple rules you’d like them to follow in the store or restaurant and if they do them, reward them with such things as an extra bedtime story.
- DON’T bribe your child - this is the same as giving in
- DO teach better ways - encourage your child to use words to describe their feelings. Keep in mind that giving rewards for good behaviors work much more effectively than punishing bad behavior.
- DON’T worry about what others are thinking - almost every parents have been through the same thing! Know that your child’s tantrum doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent.
What Do I Do if the Tantrum Happens in Public?
If a tantrum occurs in public, use planned ignoring if possible. If this is not possible, find a safe place to sit with your child such as a park bench and tell your child they must sit quietly. Wait beside your child (without talking) until they have been quiet for 30 seconds.
When Do I Set a Time Limit?
Rather than setting a specific time limit on how long your child needs to calm down, tell your child to stay in the room until he or she regains control. This will empower them to understand that they can affect the outcome by their own actions. However, if the time-out is for a tantrum PLUS a negative behavior (such as hitting), put your child in a 1 minute per year of age time-out.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Know that temper tantrums get better after the age of 3 although, they don’t go away entirely. As kids mature, they gain self-control and tantrums will usually stop on their own as they learn to cooperate, communicate and cope with frustration.
Contact Your Child’s Healthcare Provider If:
- You often feel angry or out of control when you respond to tantrums
- You keep giving in
- The tantrums cause a lot of bad feelings between you and your child
- You have questions about what you’re doing or what your child is doing
- The tantrums become more frequent, intense or last longer
- Your child often hurts themselves or others
- Your child seems very disagreeable, argues a lot and hardly ever cooperates
Did you know that according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 220,000 patients were treated in hospitals, doctors’ offices and emergency rooms for injuries related to winter sports in 2017!
- 69,000 injuries from snow skiing
- 54,000 injuries from snowboarding
- 52,000 injuries from ice skating
- 5,000 injuries from sledding and tobogganing
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that most injuries sustained during winter sports can easily be prevented by keeping in good physical condition, staying alert, and stopping when participants are tired or in pain. The most common injuries include: sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures; many of these happening at the end of the day when people are tired and overexert themselves.
To help prevent injury during your favorite winter activities, follow these AAOS safety tips:
- Never paritipcate alone in a winter sport.
- Keep in shape and condition muscles before participating in winter activities.
- Warm up thoroughly before playing or participating. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury.
- Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves and padding.
- Check that equipment is working properly prior to use.
- Wear several layers of light, loose and water and wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Layering allows you to accommodate your body's constantly changing temperature. Wear proper footwear that poviders warmth and dryness, as well as ample ankle support.
- Know and abide by all rules of the sport in which you are participating.
- Take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor, especially in sports like skiing and snowboarding. Learning how to fall correctly and safely can reduce the risk of injury.
- Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature.
- Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if you, or anyone with you, is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite. Make sure everyone is aware of proper procedures for getting help, if injuries occur.
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities.
- Avoid participating in sports when you are in pain or exhausted.
New Year’s resolutions are great for kids and teens as they sometimes need to make these promises to themselves and you, in order to organize their goals for the coming year.
Here are some great tips to help your child choose specific, achievable resolutions to set them up for success in the New Year.
First, start off by explaining what a resolution is and giving examples of ones they have set in past years. You don’t want your child to feel like something is wrong with them now; instead, frame the conversation as something that could be done better. If your child suggests well-intentioned but vague ideas like “be healthier” try to help them develop those ideas into tangible actions that can be done every day such as “spend 30 minutes outside every day”.
Next, make sure to remember that resolutions should always be discussed in a positive way. For example, their resolution should be worded, “I’m going to do this…” instead of “I’m going to STOP doing this…”
Some Great Pediatric Resolutions Include:
Healthier Eating - Target an area you and your child need to improve upon and discuss why it is important. If you want to eat less fast food, talk about what you are going to eat instead. Or if your child is trying to eat more vegetables, agree on a specific number for the day or week.
Examples of some specific New Year’s Resolution in regards to healthier eating:
- “I’m going to drink two glasses of milk each day instead of soda or juice”
- “I’m going to eat two pieces of fruit at lunch each time”
More physical activity (exercise) - this is always a good resolution but keep in mind that the work “exercise” can be boring. Try to make it sound fun so your child is more likely to stick to it such as:
- “I’m going to join a soccer team”
Screen time - It is not enough to simply say “we are going to decrease screen time”. Quanitfy how much you and your child will reduce and what they will be doing instead such as:
- “I’m going to limit screen time to 30 minutes per day and read before bed instead of watching TV”
Social Resolutions - A social resolution should always be tailored to your child and an area where they would like to improve upon.
Great examples of these are:
- “I’m going to do one random act of kindness a week”
- “I’m going to talk to one person at school I’ve never met each week”
Helping around the house - Committing to chores is always smart as it makes kids feel needed and useful. Plus, you’ll get a little help around the house!
Examples of these resolutions include:
- “I’m going to set the table for dinner every night”
- “I’m going to make my bed every morning”
Educational resolutions - Learning new skills is always a great resolution and can be a great source of family time.
Examples of these include:
- “I’m going to learn how to make chocolate chip cookies”
- “I’m going to learn how to speak Spanish”
Family time - commit to spending more time as a family!
- “We’re going to have game night every Saturday”
- “We’re going to eat dinner together every weekday”
Don’t forget, that when it comes to resolutions, it is important for you, the parent, to lead by example and don’t be afraid to adjust your goals along the way if they’re becoming stale or if you actually accomplish them!
Nothing creates a winter ambiance like a wood burning fireplace however, it is important to remember these fireplace safety tips from the AAP.
- If possible, keep a window cracked open while the fire is burning
- Be certain the damper or flue is open before starting a fire and keeping it open until the fire is out, will draw smoke out of the house. The damper can be checked by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. Be certain not to close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
- Use dry and well-aged wood as wet or green wood causes more smoke and contributes to soot buildup in the chimney. Dried wood burns with less smoke and burns more evenly.
- Clean out ashes from previous fires. Levels of ash at the base of the fireplace should be kept to 1 inch or less as a thicker layer restricts the air supply to logs, resulting in more smoke.
- Have your chimney checked annually by a professional — even if your chimney is not due for cleaning, it is important to check for animal nests or other blockages that could prevent smoke from escaping.
- Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that is potentially flammable (ie: furniture, drapes, newspapers, books, etc).
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house. If you leave the room while the fire is burning or the fireplace is still hot, take your small child with you.
- Minimize your child’s chance of burns form the hot glass front of some fireplaces. Safety scenes can be installed to reduce the risk of burns.
- Put the fireplace tools and accessories out of a young child’s reach. Also, remove any lighters and matches.
- Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Communicate to children as early as possible the danger of fires and the heat generated from them.
We understand that children of all ages are filling their holiday wish list with technology such as: tablets, cell phones, headphones and other tech-related gifts however, it’s important as a parent, to set limits, and make sure your child has technology free time. The holidays are a great time to help children “disconnect” and get back to the basics in childhood play by providing your child with gifts that foster communication and social interaction.
Ideas for a Low-Tech Holiday Gift List:
- Traditional toys - Did you know traditional toys still remain superior to electronic toys for children’s language development? Blocks, dolls, musical instruments, cars, trains, shape-sorters, and other low-tech toys get kids and parents talking, singing, playing and interacting. When toys talk, parents talk less which subsequently means that kids vocalize less. Make sure to put some traditional toys under your tree this year to help your child build fundamental communication skills.
- Books - Helping to spread the joy of reading is a lifelong gift
- For infants and toddlers look for books with textures inviting touch or colorful board and picture books
- Give books appropriate to your child’s skill level to facilitate emerging literacy for children learning how to read
- For older children, look for engaging chapter books and book series
- Board, card and conversation-based question games - These are great to enjoy and play as a family as they get everyone talking and laughing and help to build some great memories.
- Costumes and other dress up accessories - These gifts allow children to use their imaginations and foster creativity. They also promote language development as kids will make up dialogues, tell stories, sing and take turns.
- Outdoor toys - Get your child outside with such toys as: balls, sleds, jump ropes, and yard games. These toys encourage running, jumping, sports and other active play which help promote physical activity and prime children for learning.
- Puzzles - Puzzles help to promote teamwork as the whole family can participate as well as spur conversation while building analytical, problem-solving and other skills.
- Cooking supplies - Involving young kids in making and trying new foods offers a wealth of opportunity for conversation and language building as well as helping to exposure your child to new tastes, textures and more. Cooking together also sets the scene for family bonding while following recipes helps to improve reading and comprehension skills, planning, organization, sequencing and following directions. Try doubling or dividing a recipe to also introduce some math into cooking!
- Crayons, colored pencils, coloring books and other writing supplies - These help children to build fine-motor skills, build their vocabulary and learn the names of colors.
- Tickets to child-friendly shows, sporting events, or other performances - These are great gifts as they allow parents and children to enjoy special activities together! These outings help to promote family interaction, conversation and bonding. Memberships to local zoos, museums or aquariums make great gifts for the whole family to enjoy!
Of course we understand that technology gifts will likely remain on your child’s shopping list. If you do give your child a technology-related present, use it as an opportunity to lay out some ground rules and make a family media plan
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