Zarina Bahadur

How Can Parents and Teachers Manage School Tantrums Effectively?

Tantrums can be overwhelming and overstimulating for both the child experiencing the big emotions and everyone else within earshot of the tantrum. What are the best methods for handling tantrums? Some fellow parents, teachers, and child experts shared some tips on managing tantrums at or about school. Keep reading to find out how they recommend you handle these outbursts.

Zarina Bahadur

Zarina Bahadur

CEO & Founder of .

Be Patient

One of the most important things is to stay calm. It’s like being the eye of the storm. When a kiddo is throwing a tantrum, they’re like a little boat in choppy waters. Your calmness is their anchor. Deep breaths and a calm voice can work wonders.

Then, there’s the power of distraction. It’s like a magician’s sleight of hand. Shift their focus to something interesting or fun. Sometimes, all it takes is a new activity or a change of scenery to flip the script.

Also, empathy goes a long way. Get down to their level, literally and figuratively. It’s like trying to see the world through their tiny goggles. Understanding why they’re upset can help you address the root of the tantrum.

And remember, consistency is your friend. Set clear, understandable boundaries and stick to them. It’s like building a fence – it gives kids a sense of security and predictability.

But the most important tip? Patience, patience, and more patience. Handling tantrums is like tending a garden. It takes time, care, and a whole lot of love. So, chin up, deep breath, and remember, this too shall pass.

Anatolii Ulitovskyi

Anatolii Ulitovskyi

Founder of .

Empathy and Structure

Managing school tantrums effectively requires a blend of empathy and structure. It’s about understanding the child’s perspective and providing clear boundaries.

By maintaining calmness, showing empathy, and setting clear, consistent rules, you can guide a child through difficult moments. This approach has not only helped in immediate situations but also taught long-term self-regulation skills.

Brett Cotter

Brett Cotter

Author / Stress Expert at .

Help the Child Feel Heard

Make eye contact with the child and maintain body language and facial expressions of deep compassion and caring throughout the entire interaction.

See the child’s pain and not their disobedience. Say, “Oh my gosh, I see you are so upset. I am right here for you.”

Create a safe space so the child feels safe enough to express what’s wrong and how they feel to you. If you are emoting any stress reactivity this will not work. Compassionately ask simple open ended questions such as; “How can I help you?” “What is it that you want right now?” “Is there anything in the world I can get you?

Say, “Okay,” and repeat what the child says they want. After the child feels seen, heard, and expresses their feelings usually the tantrum stops within 30-seconds. Then you guide them by saying, “Okay, we’re gonna work on that right away, now let’s take a moment to breathe and relax over here,” and guide them back to their proper seat. After class you can follow-up by asking the child if they would like to talk about anything at all.

Leslie Randolph

Leslie Randolph

Chief Wisdom Officer at .

Model Calm and Gentleness

When a child is having a tantrum, it’s important to remember that they are feeling something that they don’t yet have the coping skills to handle. The tantrum is their way of expressing an emotion that probably feels bigger than them. The greatest gift we can give them at that moment is regulation and we (teachers and parents) can model it for them.

This begins with responding in a calm and gentle manner, so they can access calm and gentleness within themselves. We can model some deep breathing in the moments of heightened emotion or even say aloud, “I am going to take a deep breath before we talk. Can you take one with me?”

After a couple deep breaths, we can then ask what they are feeling and validate it. Validating the emotion is NOT the same as validating the tantrum, but we want them to feel seen and heard. Once we know how they are feeling, we can explore more effective ways to handle the emotion in the future.

Katheryn M. Bermann

Katheryn M. Bermann

Behavior Therapist.

Look for Patterns

For both parents and teachers, the biggest tip would be to look at what happens before the tantrum begins. Is the child being asked to do or not do something? Has the ambient noise level in the environment increased? If possible, ask the child for their opinion on what’s going on. Maybe they simply don’t understand what they’re expected to do or they need extra time to think it through.

A common thing that happens before a tantrum is a child getting told no. Imagine the last time you saw a parent give a treat to a crying child at a grocery store check-out line just to stop the child’s crying. The tantrum began once the child was told they couldn’t have or do something. To avoid this, maybe the parent could have a conversation with the child before they get to the checkout and explain that they can’t get a treat right now because of XYZ reasons.

The child could be reminded of this as many times as needed. If the child is very young, they might not know what to do with their anger and frustration when they hear no, and the only way they know how to express it is through physical actions like crying and shouting. That’s an opportunity to teach the child the skills they’re missing and reward them when they make positive changes.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors’ statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.