How to Control Tantrums

The Main Reasons for a Tantrum

. Hearing the word 'No'

. When something doesn't go to plan

. Having to share

. Wanting their own way

. Being asked to hurry

. Being Misunderstood

The Word 'No'

I find it fascinating that many children's first word is 'NO' and if it isn't it is likely to be their 2nd,3rd or 4th.... yet the one word they find almost impossible to listen to is that very word itself....'NO!' This word can be the cause for so many tantrums... so a suggestion from the Bespoke Nanny is that you try your hardest to remove it from your vocabulary. I can hear you now, you think I am crazy, but you won't know the benefits until you try.

Go on...Just try it!

. 'Let's not do that right now... shall we build our lego?'

. 'Can I ask you why you are doing that?'

. 'Come away from there so you don't get hurt.'

. 'Please don't do that, you will really upset Mummy.'

. 'Think before you do that....I don't want you to get into trouble.'

. 'Let's find something fun to do, let's not be silly.'

. 'That isn't what a big boy does. Let's find the cars and build a road. Now that is a big boy game.'

. 'Can you come away from there?'

. 'Please think before you do that. Is it a good idea?'

I suggest that you try for just one day and see where it takes you.

My theory is that if you speak in a tone that is asking your child, rather than telling them. They then feel that they are making the choice. Your children generally want to please you. Children respond best to praise. So when your child has stopped in his tracks because you have asked him, remember to praise him and thank him for making such a good choice.

I ask children to 'Use you voice and make your choice!' If something hasn't gone to plan. We all tantrum, it is just as adults it sometimes remains in our heads! I remember the time I wrote a report for a family in connection with eating and I managed to 'delete' instead of 'send'.... I cursed, cried …. and carried on!

Stand Back

Sometimes it is OK to let your child vent their anger. If they have a good reason, give them their space and take a step back. A child needs to choose when to stop shouting. As they begin to calm and there is a pause in their shout, approach them with a mode of distraction. Eg: Shall we go and chat with Granny on the phone? How about a story and a biscuit?

Sharing is Caring

It can be so challenging when children are suddenly asked to share, especially if they are an only child and not use to sharing with siblings. A time when it is also challenging is when friends enter your home and your child does not want to share his toys.

Safe Keeping

It is an idea to make your child aware of when they are having guests they may want to put their favourite toys away in a safe place. Continue to explain that our friends can play with our other toys and that we are not to worry because they shall not be taking them home. If we share we may be invited to their house next week!

Getting their own way

We all love having our own way, imagine life without compromise. Rules on your terms, how simple things would be. Life isn't this way and there is no point in letting your child think that they can always have everything they want.


Rather than saying 'No' or 'You can't do that, have that.' It may be easier to say 'Yes we can do that but not until tomorrow.' or 'How about we write that on our calendar to do next week.' When you respond with a positive it can easily avoid that tantrum.

Quick Smart

We have all heard ourselves saying 'Come on, hurry up, we are going to be late!' The quick way is not always the smart way. It can lead to unnecessary stress and when your child sees this he may just mirror your the form of a tantrum.

Half Speed

In general we can say that any task we carry out with a child is done at 'half speed'. Therefore you are likely to need double the time. Especially when walking...their legs are half the length of yours! So just allow time and carry a book or a tube of bubbles in your handbag so that if you arrive early you have an activity to occupy your child.

Being misunderstood

It must be so frustrating when you are trying to communicate and someone doesn't understand. I remember a trip to France when I thought I ordered beef for my main meal and pork arrived!

Take a Deep Breath

I often ask children to take a deep breath and blow as hard as they can when feeling frustrated. I then ask if they can show me what they want. If this is still proving challenging I advise gradually changing the subject to something you know will easily distract your child.

This Article Was Written By

Bespoke Nanny
Contact: 0208 6732998

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